Recently by Amy Rowland:

Flying into Provincetown on an eight-seat prop plane, you see what Norman Mailer meant when he wrote the preface to Are We in Vietnam? — “In Provincetown, geography runs out, and you are surrounded by the sea. So it is a strange place.”

 

In the summer of 2009, I arrived at the end of geography, one of the inaugural Norman Mailer fellows — seven writers who spent a month in Provincetown and attended seminars in Mailer’s house, established as a writer’s colony after his death in 2007.

After settling into a condo a few houses down from Mailer’s, Larry Schiller — filmmaker, writer, and the colony’s enigmatic executive director — gave us the four-digit code that would allow us to enter the Mailer house for exactly 28 days, at which point the code would change and stragglers would have… More…

More and more writers are using voice recognition software, which is constantly improving and even has an app for the iPhone. The novelist Richard Powers has explained his process of dictating novels to his PC tablet as a return to “writing by voice” as done by authors through history.

But earlier writers, such as Milton, Dostoevsky and Henry James used the first form of voice recognition software—women.

Before stenography and then typing provided an entry into the workplace for thousands of women, handwritten transcription was an intimate exchange and was often unpaid work done by an author’s female family members.

Although the question of who really transcribed for Milton continues to be debated, the image of blind Milton dictating “Paradise Lost” to his daughters captured the public imagination and was the subject of several paintings, by Delacroix, Mihaly Munkacsy, George Romney and others.

Milton himself claimed he was taking direct… More…