Saturday, December 14, 2002

I had an odd, but nice, little letter in my mailbox today. jirayu, who speaks both thai and english, wrote that she (or he - I really don't know the gender of that person, and others keep doing this mistake about my name - I'll go on assuming female, since I think I understand this person) felt the title of this blog described her feelings. She feels that she expresses herself more clearly when she uses a computer than spoken or even in hand-writing. After the first moment of flattery at being known to a masters student who's most likely situated in Thailand, I re-thought the title of my blog.

The title of this blog comes from the way I have always been thinking. I am not one of those people who can sit down and give a thought shape in my head, polish and present it to the world as a child of my brain. I need to give it shape somehow, through writing or drawing. At high-school I used to draw in the books in order to remember what the pages said: my memory recall is basically through understanding, if I can't understand, I need some kind of visual aid: an image. When I write, I am often surprised at what comes out, as if my fingers know things my conscious mind does not. No, this isn't automatic writing, when I see the words I understand where they come from and where they are taking me, but I don't always know which rational decision-making process took me to this point.

This way of thinking has however not developed with my use of computers. I have always needed to write in order to know what I think. I am old enough that my habits and skills of writing were developed before computers vere common in households or even at universities in Norway. I am even old enough that I have read - and boicotted - newspapers set in lead, and been banned from the journalists' union because I used computers. To me, the computer is a different tool for writing and thus thinking, but it's not the only tool. When I feel that I really need to give my thoughts shape I sit down and shape them by hand, letter by letter, ink flowing onto paper and spreading over the page until order emerges from chaos, leaving a trail of ink like a slug's trail along the forest floor.

(By way of the intervention of Mark Bernstein, I learned that my first assumption was correct, and it's a female name. Good to know!)

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