Is there a right way to write?

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When I began to really delve into writing poetry and short stories I was more comfortable writing in long hand.  It freed my mind to truly compose the ideas, the rhymes and the drama, and felt much more like a natural flow from brain to hand to ink to paper.  The archaic version of computers we had at that point did not lend much ease in the writing experience since it was a behemoth that was no more moveable than my car.

In the bygone days of my youth (I make myself sound 100 years old), when I began to read voraciously, I would always have a pen and paper handy to write down any words I found challenging and words that I was excited to use in my writing.  It went on for pages.  I still have those pages and, although they are now collecting dust in a storage bin, they still remind me of my hunger for words.  My hunger now is much more easily satiated.  With the ease of Google, on-line dictionaries and thesauruses I no longer have to put the word to paper and look it up in a bound, hard-cover dictionary.  I even have a dictionary in my Kindle should the need arise to define a foreign word.

Nowadays, I’m sure a chimpanzee would have much more success with that foreign writing object we call a pen.  I used to have beautiful handwriting and now the things that come out of the pen slightly resemble a modified version of shorthand.  (It would be far more beneficial for me if it were shorthand since I currently have no clue what I’ve written!)

shorthand

(photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org)

With the ease of the digital age I use a voice recorder if I am overcome with inspiration.  Random thoughts that used to be scribbled on scraps of paper are now stored in my phone for easy access.  My calendar is on my iPhone and so is my shopping list.  Even with my creative stream, that long steady flow of blue ink has been replaced by the gentle tapping of the keyboard on my laptop.  I have finally been able to train my mind to tune out the incessant clicking and it no longer derails my train of thought.

What do you do?  Do you still give the ink a chance or are you a slave to your keyboard?

comunikating fonetikly

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In this day and age of technology and digital communication, spell check is a wonderful tool.  It allows the author of written expression the ability to enhance the reader’s experience by communicating effectively and correctly.

Back in my college days, we weren’t as fortunate.  Leather bound copies of Webster’s Dictionary and Roger’s Thesaurus were never far from my reach.  I loved words and I wanted to be sure I expounded my visions in the purest possible form.  During those impressionable years, I attended school with many people who seemed to be as permeable to prose as I felt I was.

There were certainly exceptions to that rule, and my best friend Sandra had a college room-mate who was the poster child for the opposite end of that word spectrum. (you know who you are!!)  She spelled phonetically.  However it sounded to her, she seemed to create a new language to convey her message.

phonetic-alphabet

They were very caring room-mates and diligent to a fault about keeping the others aware of their whereabouts to alleviate worry.  They maintained a white-board on their refrigerator so they could communicate where they were and when they were expected to return.  While visiting the apartment one afternoon I happened upon this board and stared at it with growing wonder.  Although the symbols on the board resembled those of the alphabet I could not decipher the language in which the message had been composed.

Upon realizing that I had not left the kitchen, Sandra returned to find me still engaged in a staring contest with the white board.  As many times as I listed my head from side to side I still could not digest the meaning of the strange epistle on the fridge.   It wasn’t until Sandra took me word by word through the note, sounding out every syllable, that I finally understood the concept of phonetic spelling.  After that the intent of the scribble became crystal clear.

The “fonetik spelr” and I are still close friends to this day.  I find it amusingly ironic that she studied Sign Language in school!!  I am happy to report that she has mastered much more of the English language – no longer will we wury bicuz she tuk her baik to wurk and waz caat in trafik – clooz the buuk on this peij, no morr keiass.