Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reading and Writing

Once upon a time I participated in a speed-reading course. It's been so long ago that I don't correctly remember where or when. I do remember running a finger down the middle of the page and absorbing all the words in every line. Maybe this was a vision test to see how far I could see laterally, but on second thought, I'm sure it was speed-reading. And the funny (or good) thing was, I fairly well absorbed what was on the page, not word-for-word mind you, but thought-wise. And I remembered it for at least ten seconds, or maybe only a second or two, long enough to get onto the next page and the next set of thoughts. It was a good thing I wasn't tested on the results, because my mind was on something else after a page or two while still going through the motions of speed-reading. Maybe I absorbed what I read subconsciously and could only remember the facts by being hypnotized and coughing them up from my inner soul. Maybe if I had used my middle finger or even my thumb, it would have helped recall the facts better, since I used only my forefinger, and it isn't as big and absorbed less than the thumb or middle finger or even two fingers. I could have been a "Whiz Kid" maybe if I had used my whole hand.

Also in the distant past I had the opportunity to learn shorthand, the Gregg Method, something that I enjoyed and never used in real life. I learned it twice, matter of fact, twice. By the time I had the chance to use it after the first course, I had forgotten it and had to re-learn it all over again. I could listen to conversations and take 'em down right along with it, but of course, I never did, since it was impractical to carry around a notebook and a pencil or two. It would've interefered with my regular duties, e.g., drinking socially and eating ravenously. And it wasn't long before I had forgotten all about shorthand, except for a few words like "and" and "the" and "there" or "their" and "but" or "butt". If I'd become a journalist, it would have been my lifeline. Of course, I would've had to learn to spell though.


  1. We must have been born under the same sign. Sounds like the Evelyn Woods speed-reading system, which I tried and never got the hang off. Today I'm pretty good at skimming material (self-taught), but it doesn't require the use of fingers.

    In high school, I picked up some "speed-writing" techniques which used abbreviations instead of the Gregg system. Great for taking notes in college. I still use them. "Reading" and "writing," for example, becomes rdg and wrtg. Yet for all the time in my life I've spent at a keyboard, surely the most useful skill acquired back then was touch typing.

  2. Ron, I think the "speed-writing" system was used after Gregg as an improvement to Gregg, supposedly being easier and faster than shorthand. I think the courts, at least some, required the speed-writing system by reporters and on their machines for court reporting. Knowing how to type has been a blessing in my later years.