LAST WEEK I got "insomnia" so bad that I stayed awake constantly between Monday evening and Friday morning ~ that's about 84 consecutive hours! And I was barely even tired! And noI had not been taking speed (I wouldn't even know where to get speed.) Binky said that I was "manic" during this time, but I felt normal. A bit elevated, maybe. But I thought I felt pretty normal. I spent most of the time pottering about and scribbling shorthand into a notebook.
Everybody wonders why on earth I would want to master the dying or almost dead art of shorthand and the answers are these: 1. because it's very handy to be able to write quickly and 2. I love the idea of nobody except retired American secretary types being able to read my scribblings.
Apart from the fascination I've always had with writing, secret codes etc, I gravitated to shorthand back in my late teens because I was interested in a career in journalism and back then all journalists were expected to know shorthand. Then, in the late 1990s I saw a job offered in one of the music magazines for a "techno correspondent" and I thought "there's no way I'm going to be able to use a dictaphone at a rave, so I'd better perfect that half-arsed shorthand I picked up a few years ago". And that's why I learned shorthand.
I never perfected the method, however and that's why, the other day when I was poking through boxes of stuff still unpacked from when I moved in, I found a sheaf of print outs of a 1929 shorthand manual I found myself filling notebooks with pages of scibbles all over again.
The style I write in is the American Gregg's shorthand. I happened to chance upon that method because my Gran was a school secretary and that's the system they taught her back in the day. It's far faster than the British Teeline method which is still taught to trainee journalists over here; and much easier to grasp than Pitman's. Pitman's is the traditional British shorthand and it's extremely fast but requires a pencil and lined paper. When I've had cause to write shorthand I have never ever had a pencil to hand and quite often had to resort to scrap paper pillaged from a bin, so I think I was right in choosing Gregg's shorthand over Pitman's.
Anyway I think I'm sleeping normally now.
But my shorthand is really good!
"Donk Mix 2014" (Otherwise as Bounce or Scouse House.)
I love this type of music...
Illustrated: samples of German (Stolze-Schrey), Dutch (Groote) and American (Gregg) stenography