Earlier 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….),so 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.In 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.
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.