The Palmer Method

surfaceEarlier in the week I mentioned that I had to conduct some interviews in my job.  I don’t own an iPad or a tablet on which to record my notes during the interviews, and using a tape recorder would be a bit too intimidating, I think.  So, I resort to the more traditional method using pad of yellow legal paper and a trusty Bic pen.

paper and penBefore I begin to go through my list of questions, I do let my interviewees know that I will need to capture as much of what they are saying as is necessary for me to write a comprehensive report .  At the same time I’m writing, sometimes ferociously depending on how quickly the stream of chatter is flowing, I do my best to continually look up at the person in front of me and attend to the task of listening.  I ask their indulgence with the seconds of silence between questions so I can make sure, at a minimum, I’ve written down key words and phrases from which I can compose and clear and articulate story.

When I had almost filled the first sheet of paper, the person across the table looked over at the pad.  I assumed she wanted to see what I was writing.  She let out a “Huh”, and I asked, “What’s that?” She said, “You have really neat handwriting.”  I said thank you and continued the interview.

cursiveBack at my desk as I looked over the 6 sheets of paper with my writing all over them, both neatly on the lines as well as up and down both margins; I thought, I do have nice handwriting.  My handwriting’s been complimented by others over time, but at that moment I stopped to think about how I learned to “write”.

It was in first grade; Catholic school and Sister Jean was my teacher.  We practiced our letters, using the Palmer method, every day; filling pages with looping, swooping capital letters and strings of connected lower case letters.  I remember enjoying that practice, it almost felt like a peaceful time sitting at my little desk.  So today’s thank you goes out to Sister Jean for teaching me cursive writing and making sure it was neat.

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