Famous Author Interviews, the Victorianator App, and Mind-Drift Phrases

Just learned of a neat collection of interviews, over on the CBC website, featuring authors such as Rose Tremain, Stephen Fry, Seamus Heaney, Ray Bradbury, Maeve Binchy, Julian Barnes, Orhan Pamuk, and others.

And take a look at this fun episode of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, featuring Stephen King, Dave Barry and the Rock Bottom Remainders:

Speaking of discoveries, I've heard of a new app! I can't get this one yet, as I don't have an iPhone, but if you can and do please tell me what it's like. It's called The Victoriantor, it's supposed to teach you how to declaim in Victorian English, and it was developed by an English professor at the local university (not the one I attended but the other one) here in Montreal.

"Here's how it works: a poem appears on the screen of your iPhone ... You read the poem aloud ... Then a steampunk robot takes you through a series of gestures that produce voice effects on the poem you just read. So, for example, sweeping an arm toward the sky will raise the pitch of the poem, whereas extending your arm will extend the sound of the word. The variations in pitch make the poem sound like it's being read by an eminent Victorian."

I read a Lilian Jackson Braun book the other day where one of the characters referred to a sentence that "drifts back into her head when it's completely empty." All the other characters in the scene chimed in with their sentences.

I've mentioned a couple of these mind-drift phrases before: 'I have one hymn and two song lyrics that are permanently stuck in my head, and crop up at odd times throughout my life: Jerusalem, "...and I feel like I'm slowly, slowly drifting from the shore" (U2), and "I am smelling like the rose that somebody gave me on my birthday deathbed" (Stone Temple Pilots).'

The other day I realised I have another one, the first two lines from a Walter de la Mare poem called Silver:

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in silver feathered sleep
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

What sorts of sentences drift into your mind when it's empty? [note: this post was edited to correct spelling in Braun's name]


Anonymous said…
I just sent myself a reminder to download this app to my iPad tonight. We're going to see a play tonight, so I probably won't have time to play with it tonight, but if I do, I'll let you know the results. Hell, I'll probably blog them. Can't wait!!!
I saw the Rock Bottom Remainders perform once at the House of Blues. They were fun to watch, and I loved the idea of several writers forming a band together.
What drifts into my mind when it's empty? "I'm hungry. Do I have any M&Ms left?" :)
"Whack bang" tends to drift into my head now and then . . . or variations on the phrase. I have absolutely no idea why.
Anonymous said…
I love that poem. I think more images pop up into my empty head than sentences.

That King interview is awesome.
Rachel Morgan said…
Wow, are there apps out there for, like, EVERYTHING?!
Hi Deniz!

Thanks for the link to the Stephen King interview. It was awesome.

I didn't realize there would be an app for declaiming Victorian.

Loved the poem.

Hi Deniz .. it'll be interesting to read Josh's review of the App - I have an iphone but am useless with Apps .. when I get back and settled - I'll have another go! I'll keep this post to remind me ...

"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, ..." the Masefield poem ..

Odd things pop into my mind - that's the one at the moment ...

and "Amazing Grace ..."

Cheers - and I need to see about this Victorian App .. to be downloaded by a stoneage lady!! Hilary
Deniz Bevan said…
I wish it had worked, Joshua!

Oh lucky you, Neurotic! It'd be fun to see them live!

That's kind of fun, Eagle. And I love the idea of images coming to your mind, Medeia!

I know, Rachel!

Thanks, Nas!

Love that Masefield line, Hilary. I'm off to read the entire poem!

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