SOLC Day 15: Hey, Siri, Take a Note!

March 2023 SOLC–Day 15
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

I talk a lot in the car when I’m driving to work, but even though no one else is in the car, I’m not talking to myself. Well, not really. You see, I’m talking to Siri.

Some mornings my brain is still in writing mode on the way to school, and I often hear (as in on the radio not as in auditory hallucinations–just clarifying since I was talking about talking to myself!) or think about things I want to remember. So, I rely on Siri to take notes for me, to capture phrases I want to remember, odd reflections, bits of poems, words that intrigue me, etc. She is not infallible by any means, but she generally gets down enough so that I can capture my idea. Often I come back to these ideas later and work them into something more.

It always starts like this: “Hey, Siri, Take a Note!”
What do you want it to say?

Here are a few recent examples that Siri recorded for me in Notes:

“The birds perch atop winter trees…Hey, you &*%, you just ran a stop sign! Oh…sorry Siri, I wasn’t talking to you.”
Oops. (Is there anyone else reading this who apologizes to Siri and/or thanks her when she’s helpful? Or is that just me?)

“Look up juggernaut.”
I was just thinking about how cool that word sounds and wanted to check my understanding of the meaning, which felt incomplete. Big? Overwhelming? Rolling over things? So I looked it up, and I was pretty close!

“A whale is like swimming trees.”

I heard a snippet of a program on the radio. This phrase caught my ear. I completely forgot about it until I went back to review my notes. Then, I couldn’t resist doing a little research. It turns out that whales capture huge amounts of CO2 during their lives and that restoring whale populations could be a viable approach to helping combat climate change. I had no idea.

“Italian you don’t eat at the table Rick Steeves NPR”

Okay, this one is a bit more cryptic. I had been listening to a Rick Steeves program on NPR. He was talking about an Italian phrase meaning essentially that time stops in the purity of enjoying a moment, often one that is centered around gathering for and enjoying a meal. Those words were the ones I quickly asked Siri to note to try to remember that I wanted to look up the phrase later. Just a few minutes ago, I entered “you don’t eat at the table Italian” and much to my amazement, the first response was:  ‘A tavola non s’invecchia’: ‘At the table, one does not grow old. ‘ What a wonderful saying! (It also sounds like a great strike line for a golden shovel poem. )

“Sometimes in my effort to find beauty in the midst of grumpiness, I give myself whiplash.”

This was just me thinking about how out of sorts I’ve been lately and how actively I’ve been trying to appreciate the beauty that’s around me. I feel a bit Jekyll-and-Hyde-ish at times. These words came to mind and made me laugh. So I had Siri take a note.

Time and again when I go back to these notes, I find odd inspirations or phrases that I’ve totally forgotten about. Periodically I transcribe them into my notebook. Often they’ve served as starting places for blog posts or for poems. Here are a couple more without background:

“I put on a dress this morning and wore a memory.”

“Moon as fortune teller, her gauzy veils predicting coming storms.”

“Perhaps a wall is not a place for setting boundaries, but instead a place for celebrating a connection.”

What surprises me most when I go back to my notes is how often I’ve forgotten what I had Siri take a note of. Though I would never have expected it, it seems like Siri and her note-taking have become an important part of my writing life. Sort of like a portable digital writing notebook.

It’s nice to know I’m never really alone…

“Hey, Siri, take a note!”

20 thoughts on “SOLC Day 15: Hey, Siri, Take a Note!

  1. dogtrax says:

    I admit: I have avoided all Siris and Alexas in my life, but I found your post useful, and interesting to read, how you use AI as notekeeper.

    Loved this: “A whale is like swimming trees.” I’ll be thinking of that today …


    Liked by 1 person

  2. maryleehahn says:

    A. I think I need to develop a relationship with Siri and, B. I was just getting ready to sit down to write about how time stops when I quilt, so I’m going to use ‘A tavola non s’invecchia’: ‘At the table, one does not grow old. ‘ if not as a striking line, then at least as the…um…hey, Siri — what do you call the quote that comes before a poem?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cindaroo42 says:

    I never thought of using Siri this way! But you personified her perfectly- your assistant ready with her notebook and pen, ready to scribe your insights

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lynnedorfman says:

    Loved your notes and your starting places for notebook writing. Today I could write about… I put on a dress this morning and wore a memory. All of them are great! Talking to siri is a great idea as well. In the past, I have pulled over to scribble notes on anything I could find – a brown paper bag, a coffee cup. I have also used a mini recorder. Lots of memories flooding back after reading your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So much in this post to enjoy. I love how you record your thinking and Siri’s scribing. I think I need her to take note also

    Liked by 1 person

  6. margaretsmn says:

    I’ve used this feature when I’m out walking. Sometimes I’m tempted to publish what Siri thinks I said. She seems to have trouble interpreting my accent. I enjoyed reading this and some of your lines inspired me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Oh yes, Siri definitely makes some big mistakes! I can’t tell you how many text messages I’ve had to cancel because she misheard me! Also, I swear since the last update she’s been having a harder time understanding me.


  7. Amanda Potts says:

    You know, I haven’t done the note thing in a long time & it is really useful. This is a great reminder – and it’s a great post, too. I love the nuggets of ideas, how you capture them, forget them, find them or explore them. I love the plans you have for them. And who knew about whales? How cool is that? Feels like a picture book in the making. Also, this: “Sometimes in my effort to find beauty in the midst of grumpiness, I give myself whiplash” and your subsequent reflection – this is me right now. I’m really out of sorts & trying to get out of my funk is *hard*.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I had the same thought about the whale info–amazing and great fodder for a picture book. I’m sorry you’ve been out of sorts as well. It’s a struggle I’m not used to having and it’s wearing to say the least. Hang in there! Keep writing and keep taking your beautiful photos!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. kd0602 says:

    I never thought about using Siri for something useful. I usually just find her annoying when she pipes up from my watch in the middle of class! I wonder if my watch could also send Siri to taking notes (probably). I love the whole idea of taking voice notes while you are driving.


  9. Leigh Anne Eck says:

    Oh my goodness, I have never done notetaking with Siri although I have completed several other tasks with her help. I have to try this out!


  10. Debbie Lynn says:

    I’ve subbed in a few classes that have their class schedule programmed in to Siri. Talk about a way to stay on task. The kids are trained for Siri’s different clues. Amazing. The classes run so smoothly. 🙂


  11. Our friends, Scott and Tree Mercer, are whale watchers in Mendocino County, California. I sent them your latest info on CO2 and whales. Who knew!


  12. […] that I just wrote about how I use Siri to help me record thoughts, etc. when I can’t write (here). So, I decided not to be a rigid noodle (something else I learned at PD yesterday) and took up the […]


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