• Jaded

    This isn’t a post I particularly want to write, but it’s one I need to write.

    I’m not really even sure how to phrase it, but here goes.

    I’m having doubts. I’m just feeling really disillusioned.

    I love writing. I like writing so much, I don’t even need to see my name in print – I don’t care if I get a byline.

    But it’s so not a good way to make a living. Like Penelope Trunk’s said, if you can find another way to get by than by writing, you should take it.

    So many of us went into journalism full of hopes and idealism. But once you learn more about the machine, it’s pretty near impossible to retain that.

    News is so mundane. Things get blown out of proportion. There are PR/comm types who stonewall you and irate, often irrational readers who abuse you. There are actually people who talk media-speak – who speak in soundbites and try to make every sentence quotable.

    I know there’s bureaucracy in any job. I know there are commercial concerns and I know there will always be people who you can never fully satisfy. People whose perceptions are so out there, people who are determined to infer things that aren’t there. I don’t just mean nitpicking, I mean straight up crazies. I know accountability is part of having any job, and as much as I fear screwing up and getting the facts wrong or misquoting, I would rather do that than be crunching numbers and potentially making errors which could spell catastrophe for a company’s bottom line. (Did I mention I went through a bunch of my old crap and found my old Stats workbook and exercises? I looked through them and actually recoiled. Then I threw it out. Not that stats has anything to do with, say, accounting, but maths is maths to me…)

    People may look down on those who work in community news. But you know what, I enjoyed doing human interest stories. I enjoyed working with real people, with genuine, honest, humble and down to earth Kiwis.

    I don’t really know where this is going… I just needed to get some stuff off my chest. And just lastly, if anyone out there is struggling with shorthand….freaking A, you’re not alone! It’s bloody impossible to keep up. I’m so not at the stage where I can do it without thinking – it requires concentration, which slows me down and makes it faster to use abbreviated longhand. Bring on second semester!

  • A topic close to my heart….

    shorthand.

    Random pic that comes up if you search teeline shorthand!

    Random pic that comes up if you search teeline shorthand!

    One of those classes you gotta go to, because if you don’t, you’ll fall behind and never catch up. I think I’ve missed two classes so far – the first time I caught up from a friend’s notes, and the second I winged it from the guidelines.

    And literally everyone loves our tutor! There’s a Facebook group created especially for us, called “i heart shorthand” along with a treasure trove of quotes from our all-knowing sensei. She comes up with some real gems. I’ve copied and pasted some here for your amusement.

    • “Normally” looks like a wee animal you’d take for a walk or something.
    • “I’m like a little team all on my own”
    • “Don’t fluff around with vowels.”
    • “Faulty….” as in towers
    • “-ment and -tion all holding hands together and getting on marvellously.”
    • “You’re gonna amaze yourself, horrify yourself, do whatever to yourself.”
    • “You can go to bed listening to me. I can be in your ears 24/7.”
    • “You should be chanting these special outlines every chance you get.”
    • “I usually have a few tail-end-Charlies at the end of the course.” (Don’t know what this one was about….)
    • “I know your head is a heavy thing but it can hold itself up.”
    • “We’re getting the whole family group in here one by one.”
    • “If you hear it as a negative when it’s coming at you, treat it as a negative.”
    • “We really are old-fashioned, I even have a watch I have to wind up. We don’t even have the internet at home.”
    • “There’s no hope for me. I have a cellphone… but it’s never switched on – it’s 7 years old.”
    • “Has anyone heard of a pixel? There’s one in this thing here.” (points to computer)

    I realise that out of “context” (one of her favourite words) she might come across as a bit ditzy or behind the times. But I assure you, she’s LOVELY! The sweetest, nicest, and one of the funniest people ever.

    One more week of classes next week. And no more lectures! We’re going to be filling out those end of term evaluation forms for each class and my plan is to write mine in shorthand for her. Something basic, along the lines “sweet, patient, and so very funny. Don’t ever retire!” I’m sure she’ll appreciate my efforts.

  • Will these lines and squiggles ever represent words to me?

    teelineShorthand is a drag. I feel like I’ve forgotten everything over the last two weeks.

    The aim is to get up to 80wpm, if I remember right. But will I ever reach the points where I can look at these lines and squiggles and instantly recognise them as words?

    Reminds me of something Eddie van Halen said. At some point, you stop looking at your guitar and seeing frets, and instead see notes, chords and patterns. Awesome.

    Practice makes perfect, I guess.