I attended the first book discussion (a second one is scheduled in January) on the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien this past Wednesday night. Please see my previous post about the kick off of the Big Read earlier this month. As is my wont when I attend discussions like this, I record the proceedings so I can concentrate on the lecture and discussion fully. I used to scribble notes constantly, but besides giving me a cramp, it also prevented me from participating and enjoying the experience. I contacted both Terri and Professor Prasch to gain their permission to include the recording and my transcription of the first third of the evening.
A bit about the transcription process: Earlier in my life (say a couple of decades ago), I spent years as a legal secretary. Because I typed so fast, I inherited the most prolific attorneys in whatever office I happened to be employed at. I got to a point where I could literally type faster than most people could talk and I actually increased the speed of my transcription equipment to save time. Those days are long gone, but I still maintain a modicum of my once magical ability to race through a tape. This transcription is mostly verbatim, but I have taken the liberty to clean up some of the structure of the professor’s remarks. Professors and attorneys are very articulate when they speak, so please rest assured I only glossed over the occasional ‘um’ or ‘you know’ or ‘right? ‘ and other such phrases that all of us fall into when we are thinking and talking extemporaneously. For completeness sake, I will include the original audio files if you prefer to listen rather than peruse the transcribed content.