the gap between thought and the written word
I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
– Gustave Flaubert
What Flaubert did not know was the effort his brain was going through to produce written words at all. He. like all of us, although in French and in a far more accomplished way than this humble writer, was working against four million years of human evolution. In that time, the neural pathways through adaptation and fine tuning, worked themselves into a ball of tightly interwoven synapse superhighways. They are so complex that even scientifically trained brains have trouble disentangling its workings.
And all the learning and memory for language focused on the listening, oral heard word. Yes. For four million years. And what we forget, or didn’t focus on until recent researches into neuroscience threw a light into hose grey soggy bits , is that some human cultures have only been writing for four thousand years.
Writing, alphabets, black squiggles on pale skin, papyrus or whathaveyou was not and still isn’t , the brain’s optimal thing.
Oh yes, we can do it. We can learn to read and write. But it goes against the very design of the biological system. That’s why it’s hard and it takes a while to do. So children need every kind of assistance they can get. Especially phonemes.
Right. I have obviously wandered off into the No Man’s Land of the literacy teaching wars. Dangerous place.
Back to you. If you struggle with the written word. If you feel there’s a gap between what you think and speak and want to write and can’t seem to, then ….Yay! High five! You are human!
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.