Spring 2011 #4
I didn’t write last week, which troubled me greatly.
I type an awful lot these days. Every conversation is typed (and how unfair is it that non-vocal people have to spell correctly when they ‘talk’?). Emails, essays, business, friendship; everything comes back to typing. And happily I’m a pretty fair typist. Straight from the HSC exams I enrolled in Typing School, graduating before Christmas ’79 with a typing speed around thirty words a minute. Those were the days when an electric typewriter (gasp!) was a scarce and very new invention; and Daisy Wheels were years away. Perched high above Circular Quay I was the only male in a room full of skirts; eager secretarial students as far as the eye could see. But I had one thing only on my mind (the proof: I married my first and only girlfriend) … I was there to type! On day two my typing teacher flourished a timber box that fitted snugly on the typewriter, and allowed me one last look at QWERTY before she bade me type blind!
Nothing happened. I was paralysed with blind fear.
Thewui cj brownf oz jumpz ovf the lszu d ig.
But I persevered, and eventually took my brand new portable typewriter (with black and red ribbon!) to university where, for a while, I was at the very cutting edge of technology while other students were still handing up their laborious, longhand essays. Touch-typing has been a great asset ever since, especially as computer keyboards have sprouted everywhere; but it’s today, more than thirty years later, that I have become truly grateful for this skill.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
None the less, I didn’t type last Sunday. Words are getting hard to find. By midnight my page was still a disconnected ramble. By Monday night not much had changed, and I gave the game away. A sad defeat.
For weeks I have toyed with a suspicion that speech is intrinsic to thought: if you change the way you speak, do you change the way you think? I know I am (or was) an ‘out loud’ thinker. The most wonderful thoughts have usually come to me mid-flight in speech; those glorious, revelatory insights into life are (or were) a beautifully vocal event. One of my adult daughters once asked me, as we chatted into the night by the ocean, what colours I could see in my mind. Well, there were no colours at all in my mind! She is a superbly creative girl, and it was fascinating to hear her talk about the constant stream of colour-consciousness that is to her like language itself. This conversation awakened me to an aspect of myself: I ‘see’ (or saw) a stream of words of every kind; a continual, textured, sometimes subtle, sometimes comic inner-thesaurus. But the stream is drying up it seems, and I don’t know what to blame. Physical ability? Myriad decisions and concerns? Nasty narcotic pain killers? Or speechlessness itself perhaps?
My typing teacher was a wiry old spinster with her hair pulled back in a bun so tight it flared her nostrils. But she could type at 120 words per minute, hands flying high above a manual typewriter in a crazy racket punctuated by the episodic ‘ding’ at carriage end. I owe her much; or at least I owe a debt to Providence that took me there to typing school so many years ago. The congruence of these events – learning to type and needing to type – is inescapable, and often comes to mind. Although separated by decades they seem a blink apart, giving me confidence that today was seen by Heaven way back then. This much I understand: I have been well prepared and well equipped. I feel this providential-preparation in my carpenter’s carryall that I have kept for many years, from which I have been able to create Bugger (the power chair), and other useful gadgets. I feel it in the many sustaining friendships I enjoy; and I feel it in the schools of faith from which I have learned, which thankfully do not promise every answer here on earth.
Another Sunday-midnight has passed without result; the sun is high and Monday is well underway. But I shall keep on typing!
7 thoughts on “Typing School”
Love to hear about the things you have done in your life.Keep up the good work.My heart smiles when I see “rejoice ” on my computer.I believe you are a blessing to all who read your words..Norma.
Please keep on typing Roderick! your insight into the world & those who occupy it is profound, beatuiful & often challenging. I love to read your message,& always look forward to it.
Thank you for that smile Norma!
Thanks Greg; I’ll give it my best shot! See you Sunday.
Excellent read and so pleased I didn’t rate a mention!
Looking forward to next week, yes keeping the pressure up because I am selfish and truely look forward to Monday morning’s Rejoice.
As the saying goes Trish, “You’ll keep!”
Pressure is good, thank you indeed.
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