Notes deleted: Observation Notes 81-82

Observation Note 81: Notes deleted. I wrote about 500 words for today’s post – 2 observations and 2 reading notes. But they lacked flow and cohesiveness. I didn’t want to post substandard writing but I also don’t want to post another photograph. So, with ten minutes of writing time left, I will quickly list my three books that I am currently reading though I am not yet progressed enough to make any comment on them.

Book 1: Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Book 2: Avidly Reads Guilty Pleasures by Arielle Zibrak

Book 3: Scandalous by Charlotte Lamb

Observation Note 82: Shrugs. I have barely progressed reading any of these books because I am accidently writing one too. It is kinda an academic expectation to turn your thesis into an academic book but meh. Having spent many years as a specialist in deselecting books in libraries that then get sent to be pulped, I feel jaded and don’t believe that there is any point to getting books published. Books with zero loans over two years. Pulp and landfill. Anathema, I know. However, just like I vowed that I would never study again after completing my Bachelor’s Degree (we all know how that ended!), I have also never ever wanted to write a book.

Yet here I am.

Home and writing: Observation note 73

Observation Note 73: Home writing. I am too tired to write about my reading today. So instead, I am posting a favourite photo of my view when I sit outside to write. I have a small table and chairs that a friend gave me. My dogs sit on old chairs I hate, and the greenery shades my dirty white Greek milk bottle columns. I love how the afternoon sun hits my corner where I sit, and makes the Sydney sandstone bricks a warm honey yellow. I’m fortunate to have this space. During the pandemic lockdown, my husband and I ate most of our lunches here, sometimes with our sons and sometimes alone. It is a lovely spot.

A sandstone brick home with a front verandah. 2 dogs sitting on a seat. Greenery. Black security door ajar.

Planning to not plan (too much)

This is a blog I mean to write early last week but, as with all plans around Christmas and New Year’s Day, it would have been best if I had made no plans at all. In kicking off 2015 I want to look back at 2014 which has been a mixed year of experiences for me. I will throw some thoughts onto my page here:

Broader reading

After a few years of not working in a library (and being a library researcher and educator instead) I now have a casual librarian position in a library far from home. The far from home is significant as I am reading on my commute which is blissful. But most importantly, I am reading more broadly. I had not realised the degree with which my reading narrows when I am a buyer of (romance) fiction. I have a limited book buying budget and I am averse to experimenting with my limited funds. I also stopped using my libraries regularly (shocking revelation!) through sheer laziness so being back in a public library has been wonderful. Continue reading

Writing Longhand

A few weeks ago I wrote a fabulous post. It was superb. The words all flowed, I hardly moved from my seat and after 2 hours of constant writing I was really pleased with my close to 20 pages (let’s not get too excited here – I was using a notebook). However, I am choosing to not type it up.

20130602-212138.jpg

 

At the beginning of last year I returned to study after a twenty year hiatus. The last assignment I had handed in was in 1991. I had used a word processor for the last two years of my degree but for the most part, the majority of my assignments were written by hand. For many young ‘uns this brings gasps.

I much prefer using a word processor.

In second grade, I won a writing award held by the local bank. My father went to read my entry and left without doing so. He came home and stated that he had no idea how anyone was able to decipher the scrawled gibberish of lines running into themselves.

20130602-212252.jpg

In third grade, my report card was filled with As with the exception of C for my handwriting.This C did not change all the way through to sixth grade.

20130602-213021.jpg

In sixth grade, my teacher who had a mercurial temper and a propensity for using the cane, started shouting at me for my painting. It was a brown boat on a brown sea against a brown sky.I had not aimed to make everything brown. My colours had somehow become mixed and so I drew shapes into the brown. I was genius, I thought. He didn’t. He threw it in the bin (but did not cane me).

Oddly enough my Greek handwriting was (and still is) neat and legible. I enjoy writing in Greek because I can take pride in my penmanship. But alas, there is very little call in Australia for Greek handwriting. But I also think that my Greek handwriting is legible because Greek is a second language for me. My Greek thinking is slower than my English thinking so my hand works at the same pace as my thoughts whereas my English thinking is leaps and bounds faster than my hand. My thoughts flit from seemingly unconnected ideas yet formulate a coherent concept by the time I conclude.

My hand was never able to catch up often cramping up in speedily writing my thoughts down. By Year 11 I had developed a ganglion on my right wrist. I quickly taught myself to write with my left hand so I could write uninterrupted by hand cramps. I became ambidextrous (yeah – yeah – hit me with the old “I’d give my right hand to be ambidextrous” joke). My left hand writing was barely discernable from my right (though I have never mastered my signature with my left hand). However, no-one ever asked to borrow my notes. I believe I was the only person who could decipher what I had written.

As you can see, there is a pattern here. My penmanship was not of the highest calibre. I was inconsistent. I varied from cursive writing slanting from left to right, rounded print letters and bizarrely enough, in Year 12 I wrote a 130 page assignment on Ancient Egypt with a mixture of a rounded print font with a squared font for titles.

20130602-213112.jpg

By the time I started university I had reinvented my handwriting self. Though I no longer thought my writing to be awful I still did not relish doing it. I loved my sister’s electric typewriter but as we were both at uni at the same time I rarely used it as she was the boss. When my dad bought a computer it revolutionised my writing, my assignments, my everything. I was finally handing in work that was not being judged on how well I rounded my As and Os or how well my cursive letters joined themselves. It was, finally, function over form. And I have never looked back. I did a typing course and at one stage I could type more than 80 words per minute with a 100% accuracy rate (my word count is lower now but my accuracy is still quite high).

I love writing on a computer. I love playing around with my ideas and changing them around. What I have found though, is that in this second round of studying, is though the online reading of articles is fluid and quick, I am less adept at marginalia and side notes online. I am loathe to print out all the articles. My post-it notes are great for notes in books for I am one of those pedantic librarians that cannot bear to write in her books.

(As an aside, I particularly hate when people vandalise *cough* … write in library books. I once, politely, made a borrower sit and rub out all the pencil markings they had made in a book on creating quizzes – they had placed a purchase suggestion and were the first to borrow the book and returned it straight into my hands. I realise this won’t make me popular with the happy clappy “let’s make everyone welcome even if they are violent fuckers” librarian set but pfffft – I have no need to be liked by every library user and the person continued using the library and my professional assistance).

Since I don’t write in books, my notebooks have become full of notes and ideas and quotes. When I first started handwriting after 20 years (let us not count the occasional card that I may have written) I realised my writing had reverted to the ineligible scrawl that my father struggled to read back in second grade. My hand would cramp after five minutes. I was appalled. Eighteen months later, I am quite pleased that I can legibly write for a few hours to formulate my ideas. Even though my thoughts are ten pages ahead of myself, deliberately handwriting has slowed my thinking.

20130602-212835.jpg

It has allowed me to start positioning different aspects of my ideas in areas that I hadn’t considered as I was always rushing to finish the piece in front of me in order to start on my next idea.

I still prefer typing directly onto the computer. However, there comes an idea that deserves the time that handwriting can produce.

20130602-213004.jpg

 

 

This post was inspired by posts on handwriting from both @flexnib and @Malbooth many months ago. My inherent laziness keeps me from searching through their blogs to find their posts. So no links for now.