Lines and Runkles

Curves and LinesEarlier this century ………yes, yes, yes, …..I have been  longing to write that……., (does a little fist pump and delighted in herself twirl…….somewhat like twirly scarf and flowers……..below….),Twirlsso much so that I am going to write it again….

Earlier this century, I was employed part-time as an amanuensis at a tertiary education facility in our city.  Only, sadly, that is not entirely true; my job title, was not amanuensis ( slave at hand/writing), but note-taker.  Such a dull word, note-taker, but it was far from dull work.  The learning environment was stimulating and I received a wide-ranging education for free.  I think I covered close to 15 different courses, ranging from microbiology to electrotechnology to tourism legislation and everything in between. I also had a wonderful opportunity to broaden my experience of  humanity through an inspiring group of students and their teachers. And ,then, there was the little bonus of being able to write and write to my heart’s content with pen and ink; line after lovely line, pen, ink, paper, word, over and over, flowing along happily in amanuensis servitude.lines of the amanuensisIn some classes, I would  occasionally have a brief respite, perhaps during  group discussions, and I would keep myself busy with idle thoughts :).  During one such time, I tried to do one of the mind map exercises that the class had been working on earlier in the day. I found the exercise frustrating and instead created a poem incorporating mind map ideas. Minding Time

My poem is a strange little beast but I present it here because it is the month for poems. I called this poem ‘Finding a Way’. When I look at it, in typewritten form, I am struck by its linear form. In my original handwritten version, the way or the ‘direct’ path for which I am searching is balanced against  the  swirls and curves of my natural script. The script, it seems to me, represents the wrinkles and runkles of my inner mind map; my inner searching. It astounds me to see how much meaning is lost from the poem an when the handwriting is lost. I realise now, more than ever, how difficult academic life was for my former students who were no longer able to hand write their own notes. Sometimes a student was able to explain to me how they would like their notes written; but mostly I was left to guess and improvise because the student had no experience, or remembered experience, of that vital route of communication and expression that exists between pen and brain.

                                                           © silkannthreades

26 thoughts on “Lines and Runkles

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I agree. On your blog you will have met a lot of different handwriting styles. In the days when I received lots of letters I used to love recognising the handwriting.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am lapping up your encouraging words 🙂 I may try to write more. After all, that poem was written a decade ago! Maybe it’s time for some new ones.

  1. Clanmother

    A wonderful post. I have kept handwritten letters of my grandparents and friends that have passed simply because they offer a lingering presence, I have kept my son’s first writing attempts because it reminds me of profound moments of learning and struggle. I look back at my own handwriting and see the changes over the years. Handwriting is personal, a reflection of a person who has made their mark, however large or small, on this world.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ah yes I am letter keeper too. My grandfather had the most beautiful copperplate handwriting. You are right, our handwriting is how we make our mark on this world. It is as individual as our thumbprint.

  2. lensandpensbysally

    Lovely, lovely, lovely post-and what a grand experience. I’m an educator and lifelong learner, and find your commentary refreshing: someone who still enjoys a fountain pen and someone who continues to nurture their own spirit. Well done.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you.It was a fascinating experience. I think these days students may have more access to helpful technologies but note takers and reader/writers are still part of support services, as far as I know. In a way, it is the continuation of an ancient craft/skill.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      You raise a good question! And I can’t remember much about the interview except a friendly chat and a promise to call when a note taker was needed. And then I was called.


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