Sunday, March 13, 2005

Exercise: Write Longhand

I discovered a while back, while I was using pen and ink to write notes while I was on a plane (and where I particularly wanted to record my thoughts during takeoff and landing, when you're not allowed to have even a Palm Pilot in use), that I write somewhat differently when I can't type. During high school, I taught myself to write drafts on a typewriter, so when computers came along I fit right in. But handwriting is a wider window to emotion, even as it enforces brevity just because one cannot possible write as fast as thought without a keyboard.

Secondly, try to dictate a story into a recorder. Again, you'll discover yet ANOTHER small variant in your personal style. (For this exercise, I suggest a standard cassette recorder or see if your MP3 player makes recordings. I specifically advise AGAINST using a "talk to your computer" program such as Dragon Dictate or ViaVoice.) If possible, tell the story to someone else who is present in the same room or at least at the end of a phone line. You may discover you are clearer, more expressive, with a direct audience.

There are four kinds of aphasia: understanding speech; speaking; understanding the written word; and writing. So it stands to reason that there are different parts of the brain which handle these closely-related but not identical functions. -- Rachel Holmen

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