07 July 2011


Just now had a discussion with, among others, my friend Cris (she of the infamous Toothgate situation) about Indiana's recent decision to stop teaching cursive writing. Some people are horrified, others seem, frankly, a little relieved. Cris compared it to her (nonexistent) outrage when people switched from fountain pens to Bic pens.

Guess which camp I'm in. Hint: I don't even allow ballpoint pens into my home or office.

Even before I am a teacher, I am a writer. And while I do a good deal of my writing online (I have a blog, of course; I write emails and research papers and some letters online, but only some, and they're to specific people for specific reasons) I still do the bulk of my creative writing by hand. And I've noticed that my writing is different when it's done on a keyboard, as opposed to by hand on a pad or a piece of paper or a journal or notebook. The syntax is different, the flow of ideas is different.

One of the great physical pleasures of my life is writing. I like the way it feels. I like the meeting of pen (yes, fountain) and paper. I like the feeling of moving my hand across the page. Writing is a tactile art form, as much as sculpture. I understand in a way a lot of other people don't how deeply my handwriting conveys my personality. My writing--both the product and the physical presence and shape and, yes, colour of it--is very much who I am.

This grieves me more than I can say. I know it is not rational, but there it is.

04 July 2011

Lest I Feel Homesick for Three Feathers

This year, I am celebrating Independence Day in my new home in Doodlehem, instead of with my parents in Three Feathers, land of the Attack Chickens. Seriously. My mother got pecked by a chicken this morning and had to go to the hospital to get it disinfected. Where they asked her if she knew the name of the chicken who pecked her. (She didn't, but offered to share the various things she had called it. Sensibly, the triage nurse declined, saying she could use her imagination.)

Anyway, back in Doodlehem. For supper, I had a dish of spicy channa dal, which stunk up my kitchen fabulously as it was simmering, and now I am being serenaded by my drunken neighbours, who are singing at the top of their lungs in Spanish semi-unison around the grill on their back patio. One is gesturing with his cigar, the other is using his Corona as a microphone as they bellow some cumbia classics. Times like this, I love this country. Every crazy bit of it.

Later on I'm gonna ask them if they know Cielito Lindo.