Two Big Writing Obstacles--My Hands
Being creative is only part of the task I face as a writer. My thinking ability is pretty good. Organizing the words inside my head is seldom a problem. The bad part happens when I start typing. I'm terrible at it, always have been, and decade after decade my skills never get any better. Just typing that previous sentence was rough. I spelled 'decade' as 'descade' and made a couple of spacing errors. Correcting each new glitch takes a few seconds and all those little nicks of time slow down the whole process. It's like driving your car and pushing the brake pedal by accident every 15 or 20 seconds. This explains why a lot of my columns and essays tend to be short. Producing a final draft of 500 to 900 words often leaves me physically and emotionally weakened.
I took a typing class in 8th grade and basically faked my way through it. "Don't be looking at the keys!" was one of the teacher's daily commands and I tried to obey but soon realized my efforts were always going to end in failure. Other kids were doing just fine fine, gaining speed and using every finger as the textbook instructed. To this day I only use the index and middle finger on each hand. (FYI--I just typed 'eavh' instead of 'each' and had to correct it). On rare occasions the ring finger on my right hand may get into the action, but both little fingers are totally uninvolved. I sometimes think I don't even need my little fingers anymore. If I had a relative who required a pinky transplant in order to survive I would gladly donate one of mine without a moment's hesitation.
It would obviously help to memorize the keyboard but that's never happened either. Finding 'V' is always a mini-mystery. And 'M' is dangerous because it has keys for punctuation as neighbors on the right side and they often get hit by mistake. When I see my wife and daughter typing at their computers, staring at the screens while their fingers blaze along at machine-gun speed, I'm puzzled and forlorn, not unlike an old horse hitched to a covered wagon stuck in deep mud. I feel the same way watching talented musicians playing their instruments while singing and dancing simultaneously.
You'd think I would have at least mastered the ability to type simple words flawlessly but that's not the case. Although 'the' and 'is' have a pretty high success rate I still manage to mangle them into 'thr' and 'id' and other variations on a regular basis. One good feature about manual typewriters was that people like me with minimal talent had some margin for error. If you pressed the wrong key by accident you had time to pull back before the mistake was committed to paper. I don't want to go back to those days but I do wish someone would invent a sensitivity meter for modern keyboards that would automatically detect when one fingertip is touching two or more keys and give priority to the key that has the highest percentage of skin contact.
Looking ahead, I feel pretty confident in assuring whoever reads this blog that you will probably never receive a text message from me. Since my dexterity skills can barely handle typing on a normal size keyboard with real keys, communicating via a tiny flat-screen keyboard with virtual keys is way past the outer limits of my abilities. I'm going to end this entry now because my finhers, or fingers rather, are starting to feel ftugued. I meant fatigued. Five paragraphs will do that do an inept typist. Next time I'll try for six. Five-and-a-half for sure.