H is for Handwriting: A-to-Z Challenge

DSC04050This is about handwriting, and how it is wired within me to help me to remember.

When I hit college I was taking subjects I had no former knowledge of, and this is when I first understood that to remember, I had to write it all down.  Hearing words spoken that I had no relationship to caused them to go in one ear and out the other, and a general state of confusion.  I t was like a river hit me.  I had not had this happen in high school.  If I wrote the word (even if I didn’t spell it correctly, which was often true for architectural history or physics), I could look it up later.  If I wanted to really remember it, I copied my notes into anther notebook.  I understood then that for some reason, writing and memory were linked for me, and this is where my journaling started — with architectural journals of endless ideas and things-I-had-to-know.  I copied and pasted images, and made these fantastic workbooks.
At this time I was learning architectural lettering.  I had pretty nice cursive too, as you  can see below in my first cookbook, all copied by hand from folks whose recipes I loved.  (Both of these are good if you want to try them!)

I copied recipes, when my handwriting was still legible!

I copied recipes, when my handwriting was still legible!

web ixtapa parachute 2Architectural printing was pretty cool, and I began to use it almost exclusively.  And it was about this time that I found out why writing was so important to me.  I was teaching design and some students were so lost, and they were trying, and I took it on as my problem.  I began studying NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), which has gotten a ton of negative press through marketing folks who try to sell it as a manipulation tool.  NLP began as a study of how we learn, how we become genius or enter into genius states, and I wanted to reach my struggling students.  In the process I learned I was primarily visual and kinesthetic, which means I am most comfortable seeing what I need to know and then feeling it through my body.  Auditory (spoken words) went in one ear and out the other unless I could make pictures in my head of the words or concepts.  So writing by hand it a natural exercise that feeds my genius!

A short time after I took a life-changing trips to Europe for two weeks which turned into many months, and came back wanting to change my whole life (another story).  I began journaling about life events, not architecture.


Journaling in the middle of the night while Mitchell sleeps. I usually have a couple of cats at my side.

I began writing in coffeehouses in the morning.  These journaling events became ideas for stories and then I learned a wonderful thing about being stuck and getting unstuck, as I had a nifty not-so-little computer that I could write my “serious” stuff on, and often had writer’s block.  Here is my visual/kinesthetic truth for getting unstuck:  Go to a quiet and wonderful coffeehouse, with excellent smells of roasting and breads baking (yummo, a bakery attached) and get a milky sweet tall coffee and something sweet, sit down with your pad or journal and set a timer and write what is in your head, whatever it is.  This is a cross crawl for your creative self, as the process will jump start your whole being, and then turn to whatever you actually have to write about and begin.  Only when all those wonderful words are flowing can you turn to your computer, if at all.

Oh, and one other tip that handwriting solves.  When you have some stupid thing going round and round in your head annoying the crap out of you, write it down, even if it is the same sentence over and over again (i’m mad at dufus, i’m mad at dufus . . . )  You will stop thinking about it.  I promise!  Your mind will get bored by the repetition, and begin to say, “Really?  Anything new in there?”  However, if you hate dufus it may take a page.

W14 3 29 eugene ralph eggs copyBTW, my mother thinks my handwriting is atrocious!

However, I am now agreeing to the  Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License, which you can learn more about by visiting the site, or,
visit my web page for a more user-friendly summary on my terms.
My blog posts can be reposted; please link back to zenkatwrites.
Artwork courtesy dkatiepowellart, me!


About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in autobiography, bodymind, journal, memory, storytelling, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to H is for Handwriting: A-to-Z Challenge

  1. I am a visual learner as well. I can relate. I had to write everything down in school and when I was studying, I would rewrite it all. I went through an endless supply of notebooks. I served me well though! lol.

  2. Sammy D. says:

    Wow did your description of how you learn mimic my own. Auditory doesn’t work for me at all. I need to see it in writing, and write it myself. This post is one I will save and come back to. So many tips and thoughts. You hinted at other stories in here for future; I’ll be here waiting 🙂

  3. susanissima says:

    Your handwriting looks just like R’s! I am exactly the same, Kate, not our handwriting but wired so that we must write everything down and interact with it. I use to joke, if I don’t write it down it’s not real, but now I know that’s the truth. Thanks for addressing this topic.

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