The first time I had to give a presentation using my text2speech was terrifying. I was still at American University and presenting on Eric Rauchway’s The Winter War for my US History colloquium with Professor Allan Lichtman, a scholar of not only voting rights, but also President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the topic of my presentation. He knows his stuff, why wouldn’t I be afraid?
A few weeks prior to that presentation, I had lost my voice abruptly as a complication of an accident I was in over the winter holidays. It started with a sudden deepening of my voice and then one day I had a full-on stutter, and the next, nothing. I could conjure up simple words from time to time for a while, and even that gave out. From then on out I had to use a text to speech program on my laptop, the program speaking whatever I typed into it.
The presentation went well, and I got a 4.0 in that class.
Ultimately, after further complications, I transferred back here to Portland State University to complete my MA close to home. This decision was a good one, and I’m still learning every day how to deal with each new problem that appears with my health, from increasing dizziness to unforgiving fatigue that knocks me out for an entire day.
In the end I did find my voice, and it’s a robot.