transcribing: check

I finished my transcription last night!

It took me over 100 hours and over 1 year to transcribe 31 hours, 59 minutes, 21 seconds of recorded conversation.

It’s officially done! Wooooooooo!!!!!


I thought that the moment of completion would be like some form of elation. That I would feel like I had accomplished something with my time. Instead, I was just sad.

I think that part of it is that I had built this moment up so much. For months now, at the top of (or at least somewhere on…) every one of my sweeping To Do Lists was “FINISH TRANSCRIBING.” Some of those notes even had a “really!” or “I’m serious!” or “just sayinnnn” or “Do Dat Shit!” trailing somewhere nearby on the page in smaller print.

To be honest, transcription SUCKS. There were very few times when I was chomping at the bit to sit in front of my computer for hours speaking into a little headset and correcting all of the errors as I went (I used Dragon Speech Software, which DEFINITELY knocked off time in the long run, but was still tedious). So, work, play, life almost always won out in the fight for time.

Since I started my project by getting my Big Apple Keister to Taiwan, I’ve been looking forward to having this step done so I can get down to the real work of sifting through the pages and pages of interviews to find the gems–the story in each one that perfectly captures each of my subjects, since they will be my characters.

I don’t think that I was subconsciously stalling. Or, at least I didn’t think so until I finished last night. And it was as though I had lost something. Like some little secret of my Taiwan experience was held in every moment of recorded conversation and once it was all out, listened to, and written down, anything I hadn’t latched onto vanished.

I know that’s not true. I can listen to any of these recordings any time I want. Also, I’m going to be living and breathing the words on these pages until the play is written. But with the completion of this step I feel farther from my life in Taiwan than I ever have before.

In other ways though, stories that I never shared on ze olde blog for reasons of self-preservation, or sheer embarrassment, or that I didn’t want to tell because I thought they’d paint a picture that I didn’t want out there, or whatever, keep bubbling up in my mind as the stories I should have been telling all along. So, look forward to those, friends. And thanks for listening.

I’ve been on a Bob Marley kick for the last few days, and this one’s sort of relevant….. 😛

One response to “transcribing: check

  1. Dear Lulu,
    Just connected some dots and wondered whether you have seen the phoenixes up at St John the Divine? They are not only amazing sculptures–all 12 tons of them–but the story of how they were created is just awe-inspiring. . .at least to me. A Taiwanese art collector played a major part in the project. Without him, these may not have been finished. Check them out at the St. John website, or better yet, just go up there and look. love, Holly

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