Why do you write?
I had to think about this one and to what the prompt was really referring – writing in general, being a writer specifically (which I am not) or simply the idea of expressing ideas through the prism of writing. Being flippant and taking the prompt literally – I write because I can and for this I am very grateful. From an early age I was taught that I should always write “thank you letters” when given a present, say at Christmas or for my birthday. It’s a wonderful skill to possess!
However, when I learnt to write I was taught a system called “the Initial Teaching Alphabet” (a hippie early ’70s trend) that placed great emphasis on children expressing themselves easily using a rather weird alphabet rather than worrying about spelling and/or whether they could read what other people were writing. I still have some early examples of my exercise books using this writing system and now even I find them difficult to read. So imagine how my relatives felt when they received these odd “thank you letters” that they simply couldn’t make head nor tail of.
Personally, I am sure that this is one of the reasons that I didn’t read any books as a young child – I simply dismissed them saying that they weren’t written ‘properly’. Only a child would think that something a very few people wrote was “normal”. My mother (a chemistry teacher) was horrified, but I was extremely stubborn. I don’t remember at what age we started to learn to write like everyone else, but I do know that it really badly affected my ability to spell or rather lack thereof! I suppose one thing good that did come out of it was that I became much more interested in numbers and sums. So reading & writing not my favourite at the start but numbers and mathematics much more to my liking.
I was suddenly confronted by how weird this ITA teaching method was, when at university one of my friends showed me something he had written and I just burst out laughing! I said (semi-jokingly) you must the been taught ITA too, at which his initial angry response soothed very quickly and he said “how did you know!” It’s your awful spelling I said for someone so intelligent – mine is the same!
For me this means that any words that I learnt later in life I have no problem with spelling, but often quite simple words with double letters trip me up. It’s quite ironic really, because now my work is based around me being able to express complex ideas in written form that is understood by others. My profession requires that the documents I write are “CLEAR” and well supported by my technical reasoning.
Sorry this piece is a bit ‘off topic’, but I cannot claim any creative skill in putting pen to paper or thoughts to computer. However, my early years have made me very interested in different writing styles, alphabets and even different types of codes – so I’m sorry but that is the best I can offer on this topic. (NOTE: No pictures!)
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