Hand Writing

I’m aimlessly flicking through internet pages.  Feeling disatisfied.  I don’t even know what I am looking for, but I know there is something I need.  What is it?

My eye drops down my screen to my keyboard.

Ah.  That’s it.

I want to write.  Like an itch that wants a scratch.  Writing scratches the itch, but have I lost something in the switch to typing?  Is it the same for the reader?  Things written by hand make you feel so much closer to the writer, don’t you think?

It has always helped me, to write, whichever way I achieve it.  I used to keep journals.  One of which I considered, at 16,  to hold such sensitive material that I triple bagged it and buried it in the garden at my friend Anna’s house.  It didn’t. In retrospect.  It makes me smile that I was so anxious not to have documentary evidence… but still couldn’t destroy it! I have almost all of the rest of them. I even have a journal that I wrote to when mum passed away.  I couldn’t bear that she couldn’t hear me anymore, so I wrote words to her, just in case she might be able to read them from wherever she had evaporated to.

It worked for a while.  And then one day I just knew she wasn’t reading.  I stopped writing to her.
Well, not quite. “When I half turn to go, yet turning, stay…” (Christina Rosetti).
I still write in that book once a year.  On the anniversary of her leaving.  I take it to the place where her plaque is; pull weeds, leave flowers, write words and think about how preposterous it is that I have managed another year without her. The words are usually smudged by the time I am finished telling her what has happened in my year, but they’re out.  Sent on their way to find her, if they can.

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I don’t keep journals anymore.  I blog.  Which has a bit more direction, a purpose beyond the navel gazing emotional torrents of my adolescent angst.  It keeps me distracted from the ills of being ill; for the most part.  Which is interesting because I am generally blogging about being ill! I really love having a place to write, and people who read it.  It does my heart good.

But I wonder, will we leave behind any non-digital documents for future generations to find?  A sad thought whispers across my mind. Probably not.  How will our children find files of our writing if they don’t know where they are stored? If the passwords are gone with the time since they were used?  If the technology is obsolete? What will they extrapolate of our personalities from the fonts we chose?  Will they see us through the mass produced glyphs on the page?

Writing (and a love of beautiful penmanship) must be hereditary.  We’ve been sorting things out in a bit of a Spring thing around here.  The hubster hired a skip to dispose of the construction rubbish and then we thought we should do a cull.  Nothing like some time pressure to make you ruthless!  Getting rid of things is only possible for me if I get to hang on to some things too.  Happily, I found just the sort sentimental bits and pieces that rose above the rubble into ‘keeper’ land.  My grandmother’s school essay folio was there.  Some of my Mum’s old exercise books.  Those journals of mine.

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I rarely write by hand anymore.  Typing is almost a direct conduit from my brain, so it is easier.  But I have recently joined a ‘Snail Mail’ collective.  Like a group of pen pals who send each other real letters!  Astonishing.  So I’ve been actually hand writing a bit more lately.  Seeing the handwriting of my Grandmother and mother again, makes me think about the importance of writing by hand.  About the personality contained in unique letter formation. It’s an art.  Individual and special.

When did you last write a letter or a journal entry?   Do you think handwriting matters? Do you write like your mother or grandmother?  Do you keep cards and written mementoes?  Am I a sentimental old fool?

Staying In -Confessions of an Introvert

During my twenties I had a passion for going out.  I actively planned and executed a lifestyle of outings.  You too?
I liked going out for meals, going out for coffee, going out dancing, going out on dates, going out on adventures!  Ahhhh, good times.

I’m glad it was such a busy decade! My thirties have been a gradual decline of wellness.  And so, a slow erosion of the things I always loved to do. Also, I became a mumma, which makes going out more of an epic event than the spontaneous outings of life, pre-kids.

My friend is coming over this morning.  It makes me smile that she is coming over to see me.  I’ve known her since my early twenties and we have had some epic outings together over the years.  I like catching up with her.  We don’t go out anymore.  Not even to the cafe, it’s just so much easier and more comfortable to stay at home.  Most of my friends understand this arrangement.  I’m grateful they are happy to meet me here. We catch up in my living room, on the big seats with the built in footrests.  It’s a sigh of contentment, the sound of the footrest levering up.  The steam over the cups of tea, good conversation.

I prefer staying in now.  One of my favourite things to do with the hubster is hunker down in our favourite spot after the kids have all gone to bed. We choose a movie or TV episode to watch together.  We’ll probably be wearing our comfy PJs and dressing gowns. Usually I am lying in the corner of the sofa; he favours the floor, his head within reach of my hand for obligatory head tickles. Often, the fire will be going.  It’s a warm, companionable togetherness.  We might pause for a cuppa, or cheese and crackers.  The small rituals of cosiness. And there, tucked up inside the cocoon of our favourite corner, we relax.  During the ad breaks the mute button is pressed and we chat; musing over whatever we’re watching or catching up on the day.  It’s down time. Us time. Let it all go time.

I was reminded recently (thanks Alyce!) of having done the Myers-Briggs personality test.  If you have done it, you’ll know that your personality is typed by its four predominant aspects.  I am an INFJ.  These letters stand for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging.  This is some of what is said about my particular personality type:

“INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people — a product of the ‘feeling’ function they most readily show to the world… self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills.”  You can find out more, or take the test, here.

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When I took the test, some people were surprised that I was an introvert.  See, I LOVE PEOPLE.  Chatting.  Good times. But I confess, I also really really love solitude. It’s how I recharge.  When I was still teaching, I’d climb into the quiet of my car at the end of the day and rest my head against the steering wheel, treasuring the glorious emptiness and quiet.  Bliss. Nothing is as restorative as the peace in that solitude.  And when it comes to writing, I need it.  An empty space, quiet music and just me.

My hubster is an introvert too, so we understand the importance of time away from people, for each other. Even from each other sometimes.  Time to gather our social strength again, before we head out into the fray.  We think of it as a de-frag.  A re-assignment of all the parts of our selves that may have been seconded to challenging tasks. I guess I am fortunate that I am usually happy in my own company.  Chronic illness has forced me into a place where I am more social online than in person.  The internet really is the introverts ideal playground.  We get to be social when we are able and switch it off when we’re not.  It’s good to be an introvert if life gives you a chronic illness, somehow I think it’d be much harder if I needed the company of others to recharge, as extroverts do.

I’m about to enter a new decade.  I’ll celebrate my fortieth in September.  My twenties were all about going out, my thirties have been all about staying in.  I wonder what is next for me?
Maybe the only way is up.

I’ve been singing this cute song from Lily Allen.  It makes me think of my hubster.

What’s your thing?  Going out or staying in?
What is your personality type on the Myers-Brigg’s scale?  Do you think it is accurate?