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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Scribbled Script

I have horrible penmanship. It’s true. I’m not sure whether it stems from being left handed, or from my mind going too quickly to keep up with my pencil. You see, I read really rapidly, and talk very fast, and I write like I’m in a footrace. It’s always been that way, and my penmanship, I’m afraid, has suffered for it.

When I go to a coffee shop, or a waiting room, or the parking lot of the building where my husband works, I can’t take my computer with me, so I carry a messenger bag packed with writing how-to books, pens, pencils and a couple of lined journals. I sit quietly and write, write, write. Filling page after page with what looks like meaningless scribble, I don’t have time to slow down. I can’t risk letting myself question whether it makes sense or sounds good. That will come shortly in the editing stage. I scribble and scratch away, and hope that later I can read my own letters and words.

To tell you the truth, it’s not easy. I’ve dragged those notebooks out, and sat at my computer, trying to decipher what I wrote there. Is that an e, or an a? Is that break, or brink? Sometimes, for me, editing is just getting an idea of what I was thinking, and re-writing from there. I wonder sometimes, whether I miss the really good stuff, the one amazing, perfect phrase, because it turns out illegible and for the life of me, I can’t remember what it says. Oh well.

I often dream of words, phrases, and paragraphs. I write much more creatively asleep than I do alert. But sometimes, in that place between the two, I can grab those drifting words and sentences, and jot them down in the notebook that lives on my bedside table. Of course, I have to decipher them by the light of day, or they’re mangled and distorted, lost forever.

This penmanship problem didn’t start when I began to write in earnest, and it doesn’t show up only when I’m creating. I have unreadable shopping lists, and address books. I have dialed the wrong number countless times, because I can’t tell the difference between my nines and my fours. I guess I could work on it. Practice my printing, and cultivate my cursive. But, I’ve lived this long with horrible penmanship; and who is gonna read anything before I type it up on the computer, anyway, right?

Maybe someday, if it’s one final love-letter penned on linen paper, or a last will and testament written on the back of an envelope--on a deserted island--after my plane went down over the Bermuda triangle, I’ll slow down and distinguish my e from my c. After all, I don’t want to leave my children all the eats in my house, and have them neglect the cats after I’m gone. Now, that would be horrible.

This post is part of my 8 Random Things About Me response to tags from Lavender Chick and Shannon. Be sure and check back for Random Thing Topic #7 coming soon.

P.S. TAG, Mrs. Pivec @ Golightly Place, You're It! - Share 1 (or 8) random thing(s) about yourself, and turn it (each one) into a blog topic.


Mrs. Pivec said...

Thanks for the tag, Taunalen. I'm actually going out of town this weekend: it's our Lunaversary! :) When I get back, I'll be sure to post.

BTW, I loved your "I Remember..." exercise. I have Goldberg's book too, but haven't looked at it in a long time. I appreciate your candid words... I don't know if I could be so brave. I have a hard time with writing the "I Remember's" I even have a hard time looking over my old journals (SOOOOO many of them...) and sometimes even photo albums - even of my children! I mean I do it, but I am SUCH a sentimental person and the pictures and words transport me so powerfully that I have to be prepared to be a bit shaken by all of it. I have to be in the right frame of mind to "go there."

Bev said...

Can I just tell you how much I enjoyed this? Cracked me up - maybe it's because I too stand at the fridge, trying to read the list and have no idea what on earth we're out of. When you cant read your own writing, what are the chances anyone else can? But then it does make your journal writing, pouring out all those awful thoughts, pretty darned safe.

Donetta said...

Hello, This sounds like a great exercise. Nice to read your Posts. I hope this finds you well.

carrie said...

LOL About leaving the kids the eats and having them ignore the cats...I am the same way when I just jot something down...I have to really take my time for it to look nice...

childlife said...

I would likely have very similar handwriting were it not for the absolute determination of a 6th grade teacher that I WAS going to learn proper penmanship. One of few individuals I have met in my life more stubborn than me... as a result, I can read my own grocery lists. I didn't get many recesses in 6th grade though : )

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