26 June 2012

written history

This post started out handwritten, but I didn’t want to subject you to reading it in its original form again.

So. It has come to this. Writing by hand because I miss pens. I miss ink. And I miss paper. It reminds me of a simpler time, though it didn’t really exist—at least not for me. I’ve never used a quill to write letters as my only means of correspondence. I’m recreating that feeling by leaning on a pile of pillows on my bed, iced coffee on my bedside table, and pen in hand. My laptop is at the foot of my bed, providing background noise to my senseless musings.

To be honest, I’m not sure why I’m writing like this right now. Actually, that’s a lie, too. I’m writing on this piece of paper because I like looking at my handwriting. There. I said it. I am that narcissistic.

But seriously, I don’t think I write on paper enough anymore. No one does. But writing on paper makes me think more. My writing has to be more intentional. There are no backspace keys. I can’t drag and drop passages to play with syntax. I mean, there’s whiteout, but that takes effort and I’m lazy.

Yes, computers make writing easier, but they take something away from that process for me.

Have you ever looked at your handwriting? I mean, really looked? Studied the size, the curviness (or lack thereof), the way each letter leads to the next? Your handwriting is your educational history. You were taught how to write by someone, so their handwriting inevitably affects the way you form your own letters. Every flourish was inspired by something you’ve seen and adopted as your own.

Your penmanship reveals so much about your personality because it’s something that you control. You decide what you want your handwriting to look like. That’s not to say that I think that handwriting analysis is 100% effective. I’ve done the online tests and have not come up with anything conclusive. But there is a lot to be learned from how someone writes.

Then there’s also the question of writing utensil and how you use it. Pen or pencil? Color? Thickness? Amount of pressure applied to the paper? What does it all mean?

And handwriting is a dynamic entity. It changes based on how tired one is, whether or not he or she is focused, and whether the document is important. Also, do not get me started on cursive. I don’t have the time to explain why I think it’s a waste of time.

I think that part of the reason why I’m obsessing over this topic is that I miss my library job at school. Poring over old documents, marveling at the distinct lack of ink smudges, despite the fact that the writer needed an inkwell and was probably drunk. I will never be able to communicate like that, at least not without people being pissed at me and wondering why I can’t just text like a normal person my age.

Feeling like Sherlock? What can you deduce from this sample?

20 June 2012

my version of the lake house

There have been periods of my life during which I undergo serious self-examination. These reevaluations may be triggered by various stimuli, the most common of which is meeting someone for the first time (or, unfortunately, during a job interview). Painful self-awareness kicks in, and I have no choice but to consider the impression I must have made.

Of course, such self-analysis does not always begin that way. Sometimes, it starts when I realize that something I take for granted about myself does not necessarily apply to others. For instance, my jaw locks when I eat something too sweet, and even just the thought of booger makes me want to vomit.

Most recently, I decided that I wanted to reread Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, because I read it in high school and forgot about it until I saw it sitting at the bottom (of course) of a stack of books in my room and let my curiosity get the better of me.

I found that I couldn't read it because I kept getting distracted by the annotations I had made previously, and was compelled to take a pen and start a discourse with my fifteen-year-old self. She had read it, sure, but she didn't comprehend it. So, naturally, I took a different colored pen and started over, taking note of what past me had missed and feeling better about my current intellect.

The funny this was, I could see how the messages of the novel resonated with me, even now, but by looking at my past annotations, I would not guess that I absorbed anything. Regardless, I came to the conclusion that past me was stupid, and present me is infinitely more observant.

conversations with myself

Then, I realized that in a few years, present me would be past me, and future me would think that she was stupid, too. After all, isn't that what growing up is? Thinking that you are so much smarter than you were before (regardless of whether or not it's true)?

But undergoing this self-examination often results in change, whether it be of a mannerism or way of thinking, that I perceive to be a step toward personal improvement.

But what if I was wrong? What if that change was only a good idea because of the circumstance, but ultimately was a step backward? How do I know that if something I'm doing now to fix a problem of mine is actually a solution?

Short answer: I don't. No one really does. In fact, it's when someone says that they know everything that they reveal themselves to know very little. And that's why I think it's okay that I have conversations with myself through time.

I have to check myself, after all, before I wreck myself.

Yes, I went there.