Kurt Vonnegut Voice Box

Everybody’s talking but no one has anything to say. At least it feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it? When you’re at an event, bouncing from one pre-scripted conversation to the next—or scrolling through Instagram, looking at one photo after another. Oh great, she had a kid—and a picture-perfect brunch! Gag me with a spoon. Being on social media or a bad party is enough to turn the bubbliest extravert into a crotchety misanthrope.

The novelist Kurt Vonnegut—maybe the king of crotchety misanthropes—sums it up: “People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they’ll have good voice boxes in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say.”[1] It’s cruel but accurate: some people do really seem to think that, if they stop blabbering for a moment, they’ll lose their voices forever.

So how can we be more intentional online and in conversation? How can we eliminate the meaningless blather and start saying things that really matter? At Biograph, we’re here to help—and we have three ideas to train your voice box to say the things that really matter:

1. PRACTICE THE ART OF CONVERSATION

Conversation is more than just chit-chat, catching up, talking about the weather. Conversation is an art: a good conversation can change peoples’ minds or move their hearts. The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow observes, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.”

Like any art, good conversation requires practice, dedication, and training. You wouldn’t step on stage at the ballet without having mastered the steps. Why would you step into a conversation without polishing your ideas and refining your stories?

Biograph can help you hone your craft as a conversationalist. Our app gives you open-ended, inspiring prompts; then you respond in 60-second bursts of brilliance. And you can read or listen back to your responses—a chance to see where your stories and ideas are really effective. Sounds a bit like a conversation, right? Conversations are full of moments where an idea or a topic opens up, and you can run with it if your voice box is ready to say something meaningful.

When a great dancer steps on stage at the ballet—or a great painter steps to their canvas—their training slips away. They work hard and train hard so that they can leave all that behind and occupy their brilliance. Working with Biograph, you’ll be prepared to do just that. Confident and prepared, you’ll be able to be fully present in your conversations—no blather in earshot.

2. SEIZE THE MOMENT

Any great artist will tell you that hard work and discipline are crucial to their work. But they’ll also tell you that inspiration is key. Sometimes something just grabs you and pulls you along, taking you someplace you never expected to go. It’s magical and hard to explain, but you know it when it happens.

When inspiration does strike, you want to be prepared, ready to capture it. Biograph’s innovative voice technology can help you do that: just whip out your phone and start recording. No need for a pen and paper; no need to jab away at your iPhone slowly—painfully slowly—while inspiration races ahead of you, vanishing on the horizon. We’ll help you seize the moment before it passes.

3. JUST KEEP TALKING

How do you get those moments of transport, when inspiration sweeps you up in its wings? The truth is, you have to do a lot of blathering first. It does help to just let yourself talk or write, without worrying about whether what you’re saying is important or interesting. If you always pressure yourself to be brilliant and dynamic—well, the chances are you’ll fall silent, crushed by the weight of your own self-consciousness. But if you give yourself space to play and experiment without worrying over the results, you’ll find yourself stumbling into brilliance.

Biograph can provide the best of both worlds. With our open-ended prompts and respect for privacy, our app can be a low-stakes space to experiment and play—without worrying about whether you’re boring your eventual listener or reader. And when you’re ready, our recordings and transcriptions of your sessions can help you refine your thoughts into something brilliant.

So, to the misanthropes out there, come to Biograph and let us train your voice boxes. We’ll help you build your craft as a conversationalist, as a thinker, or as a writer: so that, when the moment strikes, you’ll be ready with something meaningful to say.

[1] Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963.

Photo of Kurt Vonnegut from an appearance on WNET-TV en:WNET.

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