Transcribing Culture
Writing Transcribing SilenceBlog Munoz-subtitles-writing_03Creative Writing

What does a helicopter mean?

On June 2, 2014 at 10 a.m. Central European Time, King Juan Carlos of Spain announced he was abdicating the throne and handing it over to his son Prince Hottie – er, Felipe. In less than an hour I heard a familiar sound over the apartment I was living in a quarter mile from the Puerta del Sol, an enormous plaza ringed with government buildings on one side and shopping, restaurants, bars and cafes on the others.  Sol is both a must-see tourist destination and a must-do protest site, and the familiar sound was taka taka taka takatakataka takataka:  helicopters…

Read more

Why do I teach? part 2

Page 2, as Paul Harvey used to say.

Why don't people ask me, or anybody, 'why do you teach?' Writers, particularly successful ones, get asked 'why do you write?' as almost a stock question in interviews.  Maybe enough that they get sick of the question, although I dream of the day someone asks ME that. 

To ask someone who writes for a living why they write is to suggest there must be some broader purpose to their writing beyond that being how they keep a roof over their heads and food on their table.  Writers must know this because they…

Read more

Why do I teach? Part 1

File that under questions that are never asked.  But back to that later.  For now, my answer - for today.

It is the finest spring day the Midwest can produce, and believe me your life isn't complete until you have experienced one.  The sky is flawless, the sun is warm, the air is crisp, everything smells of new life, the colors are the brightest ever seen on planet earth.  Best of all is the satisfaction, relief really, that you have survived another Midwest winter.  You made it, and this is your reward.  There are things I could enjoy doing outside,…

Read more

Germanwings and the watercooler

I can't get it out of my mind.

The latest mysterious crash of a jetliner, this one Germanwings 9525 into the French Alps, turns out to have been the deliberate act of a copilot who locked the captain out of the cockpit, turned the autopilot to 96 feet, and breathed normally as the sounds of an increasingly frantic captain pounding on the door to get back in filled the cockpit recorder.  Not until the very last moment, we are told, are screams of passengers audible who (reportedly) didn’t know what was happening until the final seconds of their lives up…

Read more

A death in the family

      They are the illustrations of inescapable, inevitable reality:  Death and taxes.

My mother-in-law died last fall. As the sadness was reaching a crescendo, I thought resentfully that the list of dead people I knew had gotten longer AGAIN.  This is the part of aging I mind the most. The only mantra I have to counter this resentment is the cliché “death is a part of life.”  This created an infernal noise in my head, so I needed to work through various metaphors until I got to one that might get the monkeys to stop chattering: The good thing about…

Read more

“The most stress-free job in the U.S.”

That was the headline for an article that started a kerfuffle over university professors’ work lives. No one's life on the line, job security, working inside, not outside. “Professors just tell students what to do and they do it,” was one claim. I was gobsmacked. I couldn’t argue with the benefits listed, but that particular description was outlandish.

Next I read a manuscript submitted to a journal, and wrote a review of it. It was clear that the author was a student at an early stage of scholarly development; the essay was nowhere close to ready for publication. I could not…

Read more

That Time I Fell Off the Segway

A few years ago my slightly younger (50 year old) cousin invited me to go with her on a Segway tour of a famous cemetery in Richmond, Virginia where she lives. There were glorious views across the river and poignant stories about the people buried there, some of them Civil War soldiers killed in nearby battles. Most of all, there were hills. Lots of them. They got steeper. Eventually, I lost control of the Segway and fell off, and turned out I broke three ribs. I got up and finished the tour, insisting I was fine, wondering if died from…

Read more

A beach house that survived the hurricanes - so far

Subscribe:  Articles via RSS


Kristine Muñoz

Curriculum Vitae




Interpersonal Communication