Just My Type


ten reasons longhand is better from an earlier post

For almost twenty years, I have … on and off … started my day with a form of freeform journaling dubbed Morning Pages by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.  In the early years, it was almost always on … for the last few, frequently off.   I have found it a useful way to slow down the maelstrom in my head and see what’s really going on in there, perhaps even consider what I’d like to have going on in there.  My day goes better when I take the time, yet now, when I have more time at my disposal, I find myself skipping Morning Pages.  There was a time that I took skipping MPs, as I call them, a sign that I was avoiding something and perhaps that’s true.  But I also have a frustrating aspect to my personality that I am sometimes inclined to neglect exactly those behaviors that benefit me the most.   I’ve noted here before that no single activity calms me more than meditation and yet it remains at most an occasional component of my life.   I’ve noticed that I’ve skipped Morning Pages more since I became a regular blogger.  I wonder if perhaps posting hasn’t replaced Morning Pages as my morning write.  I’ll say this … producing a post I like stops the maelstrom in my head and is creatively more fulfilling than Morning Pages but it is nowhere as useful in revealing the thoughts within that maelstrom, partly because some of those thoughts don’t belong in the public domain.   I suppose it’s a possibility that after twenty years, there are no new thoughts within the maelstrom which makes the hour or so it takes to do MPs just plain boring.  Nah.

I have always written MPs in my longhand, a peculiar mix of cursive and printing that I have developed over the years as an engineer-writer hybrid.  You see, when I was a writer, I wrote in cursive and when I worked on technical documents, I printed.   Now, both appear in an apparently random mix.   I always wrote MPs with a fountain pen because a well broken-in fountain pen makes the words roll out more smoothly.  I also claim that there is a bullshit filter in my right elbow which prevents falsehoods from making it from my brain to the page.   Perhaps the reason I’ve always typed any fiction I’ve written or the articles I post here is that I want to be able to stretch the truth or embellish a bit for the sake of a better story.   Question:  Does all the bullshit leak through my left elbow or does the right elbow bullshit filter not function when I’m at the keyboard?

I tried an experiment this week … I tried writing my Morning Pages on my Nexus 7 Tablets using a Bluetooth keyboard.  Yes, it seemed like heresy because as I recall, Julia Cameron insisted on longhand (but not necessarily a fountain pen).  But what the hell, I’ve always been somewhat of a heretic.  And surprisingly, it seems to work, whatever that means.  For now, it means that I produce five or six hundred words of stream-of-consciousness that seem to resemble what used to flow from my pen tip.  Of course, my fountain pens in the wooden case in my office, collected over my twenty MP years, are sighing like spurned lovers … and I miss their lacquered bodies in my hand.  I was reading an article on Psychology Today about the possible demise of writing.  Cursive in not required by the new Common Core educational standards and children are learning to type at younger ages, sometimes before they write.  There are studies that show that we remember things better by writing them instead of typing them, but I wonder, is that just conditioned by years of writing?  Can we really tap the depths our psyches by typing our journals instead of writing them?  I’ll let you know how it works for me.

What do you think?

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2 Comments on “Just My Type”

  1. Rick Gleason Says:

    By hand or by keyboard, your writings are always interesting, if not profound reads. Thank you Bud.

  2. Now that I’m back in school, I can reaffirm what I have always believed, which is that I remember things better if I write them down by hand. This applies to To Do lists, as well. And notes at doctors’ visits for Amanda.

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