aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
In Catholic grade-school I got an A in “penmanship.” I wonder if students today would even know what the word means!
A decade ago I got the gift of a personality test from a popular handwriting analyst in Manhattan. He asked for my signature, took one look and, appalled, declared, “you’re trying to obliterate yourself!!!”
Golly, I thought it showed I had an artistic creative flair with the right-leaning swoop meaning I had a futurist bent and the left-leaning “J” and “W” implying that futurist bent was one informed by the past.
He took my hundred dollar gift certificate and sent me on my way. Dissatisfied.
Still, I note that I can barely write with a pen any longer. It’s chicken-scratch that I can hardly read myself. So I just don’t do it.
I never considered myself a writer. I went to engineering school and hated writing. I think my dislike of writing came from my severe inability to write as a kid. I can’t hold a pen or pencil very well, I hold it way too tightly, my handwriting is terrible, hard to read, messy, and often illegible. Typewriters made life easier for me, but the big breakthrough came when I started writing on a computer. For years it was just memos, email, business stuff.
But blogging has changed all of that. Now I write every day. I feel incomplete until I write something. Often it’s hardly worth hitting the “save” button. Sometimes it’s good. Once in a while it’s great. But it’s a routine and one I cherish.
I was 30 before I made my way to an undergraduate education. My performance in grade-school nosedived with the puberty and the realization that I was gay.
When I contemplated going back to school I was petrified that I would not be able to write papers. The first course I took was in writing and rhetoric. I got an A+.
Now as a blogger I have neither the influence nor the audience that Fred does. But I, too, cherish the routine:
Hardly anyone writes letters anymore. The rare book dealer told me that emails between writers and famous people are rarely well written or as interesting as the letters he sells. I was thinking that it’s a shame that letter writing is done as an art form. But then I realized that it’s evolution at work. We lose something, letters, and gain something, blogging.
I hope blogging will inspire people to compose their thoughts as eloquently as letters have done over the years. It sure has inspired me.
For me blogging is both a practice and a process. It’s not motivated money or a wish for fame (though influence has its attractions). Instead it’s motivated by the wish to be engaged in the community of ideas and interests that exists only on the web. It is a mash-up of my mind’s thoughts, interests and ideas.
And, just like it does Fred, it inspires me.