The irony is, from the machine has come one gain not yet sufficiently observed or used, but which leads directly on toward projective verse and its consequences. It is the advantage of the typewriter that, due to its rigidity and its space precisions, it can, for a poet, indicate exactly the breath, the pauses, the suspensions even of syllables, the juxtapositions even of parts of phrases, which he intends. For the first time the poet has the stave and the bar a musician has had. For the first time he can, without the convention of rime and meter, record the listening he has done to his own speech and by that one act indicate how he would want any reader, silently or otherwise, to voice his work.
Perception of an idea, the search to clarify an idea when it leads to typing, is catching free motion in a net of mechanical restraint. My mind may be streaming images that lead directly to drawing, fast spontaneous notes. But if I try to order them on the typewriter. . . well, look. . . I’m seated, hands on the keys, arms at my sides, eyes straight ahead. . . repeated jumpy little rhythms utterly contrary to rhythm of thought process which flows elongated, breaks, shifts, wavers or stops and begins anew in straight sharp bursts that thoughts are in clusters of words and words poor words hit out on the typewriter letter by letter. . . it makes me sweat, my knees get stiff, fingers twitchy, Then the idea is there and barely recognizable from its passage within memory, its shuttling within the immediate sensory environment which may have fed its passage originally (those bird sounds, the silvery green of black locust leaves. . . that cloud formation written, laying flat on white paper there’s the old brown bottle and the violet one with a cracked neck—not an explicit idea in them. . . just light, shadow, finger marks, reflections, colors from a landscape beyond the windowsill were they are placed. I’m learning to talk into the microphone—to keep it around, the tape recorder as ready to record as a typewriter can be. . . to let speech carry mind’s workings. . . certainly I’m better, closer to using speech as convoy than writing. It requires adjustment, another coordination, just as it required becoming accustomed to the presence of the recorder when we made the tapes of orgasm song. And now the camera. . .
He said in his shrill harsh voice, “What’s that?”—pointing to the ansible.
“The ansible communicator,sir.”
“It doesn’t involve radio waves, or any form of energy. The principle it works, on the constant of simultaneity, is analogous in some ways to gravity—. . . . What it does, sir, is produce a message at any two points simultaneously. Anywhere. One point has to be fixed, on a planet of a certain mass, but the other end is portable. That’s this end. I’ve set coordinates for the Prime World, Hain. A NAFAL ship takes 67 years to go between Gethen and Hain, but if I write a message on that keyboard it will be received in Hain at the same moment as I write it. Is there any communication you’re care to make with the Stabiles on Hain, sir?”