Ergonomics and Alchemy

Monday, 4 June 2012

I recently bought a new ergonomic keyboard.  The first sentence I typed was this:

This is the firt thing I'm typing on my new ergtononic keygoard. i can see i6t's going to tzaked some gtetting used to.

I transcribe for a living, so I was hoping that it wasn't going to take too long to iron out the issues :)  And it didn't.  Not at all.  A few hours after this I was typing minus all of those errors above, except still for the occasion mishitting of "g" when I meant to hit "b".  But now, four days later, that's not happening at all, and the way my hands are sitting on the keys is beginning to feel normal.  It sure felt weird for a while there, though.  The keyboard is "split", so that the left-hand keys are sloped to the left, and the right-hand to the right.  At the same time, there is a rise up to the middle of the keyboard.  It's all meant to allow your hands to sit more naturally, rather than facing straight ahead, straight down.  But at the start it felt as uncomfortable as it did when Anthony showed me how to play an A on the guitar.  How on earth do people ever manage to play guitars without busting their fingers off?   Practice, practice, practice.

The only real design flaw I can see so far is the position of the number 6, which is usually struck with the index finger of the right hand.  But in this configuration, the 6 has ended up on the left-hand side of the keyboard.  And so now I'm needing to relearn to strike it with my left index finger, instead of my right.

There's a little more resistance as we get older to changing things and doing things differently.  When I think of that little girl I posted about yesterday, she just took everything as it comes with no preordained ideas about how it should all be done.  A bit of a tabula rasa.  How liberating.

And yet even something as mundane as changing from a standard to an ergonomic keyboard does something in my brain.  It's as though some fresh air has been puffed in through my ears.  Like a spring cleaning.  It feels like exercise for my synapses, my brain relishing the opportunity to forge some new neural pathways, alternative routes to the rather ruttish ones that form some of the main highways in my mind.

Being a transcriber, I make plenty of use of hot keys and shortcuts.  Whenever I begin a long job I'm keeping my eye out for words that are going to be repetitive, particularly ones that are capitalised or that contain keystrokes that I tend to fumble with over and over again.  I assign them to AutoCorrect entries, so that whenever I type a particular small sequence of keys, that word hidden behind that sequence appears on my screen.  It is a little bit like magic, really. 

The magic happens when I get into those things that make life burble and lustre up.  For me, that's creativity in its many forms, and though my technique in some is still childlike, that's not even so much of a consideration for me anymore.  What can appear to be amateur to outside eyes is to me brilliant, coming as it did from that magical inside place where everything is dark, and sometimes scary, but beautiful too, deep and moist, mysterious.  Things spring out of there that I had no idea were there if I will only make a space for them to pour into.

I've just begun reading The Black Sun:  The Alchemy and Art of Darkness by Stanton Marlan (which, if you are interested, is available as a open-access download from  Marlan is a Jungian analyst who delves into the meaning behind the ancient image of the black sun, that darkness that is in every life and in our world, too.  He writes about the transformation that comes from entering into that space, and the care that needs to be taken while venturing there.

There is, he says a light in that darkness, and I have had some sort of experience myself of this, and the beauty that comes from walking in places that are wastelands.  I think this is what's called redemption.  These experiences remind me of fairy tales, where the main character goes deep into the dark forest, faces death, and comes out with something from the experience.  These fairy tales inform my own goings into the dark, help me to go in armed somewhat (even though it never feels like that; it always feels like death and only death, with no life to come afterwards, even though the best and most beautiful cultures and souls know what we in the West have forgotten - that the pattern is not life~death.  It is life~death~life.

And those fairy tales, so dumbed down and lightened up by misunderstanding parents with the aid of Walt Disney, are amazing ancient fragments written by people very wise, who bequeathed to us psychological and spiritual shortcut keys - symbols and images - that help us name and navigate that which is incomprehensible and terrifying, and to dignify it and make it something beautiful. 

Just as I was waxing lyrical about synchronicity the other day, how delighted was I this morning to come across the latest post by the uber-talented Rima Staines about a piece she did recently called The Alchemist.  When these tiny little serendipities happen, they never fail to give me a jolt and I fall back into that mystery of how we are all connected in ways we don't yet understand, and how beautiful that connection is.

¬ ¬ ¬

And, ahh, no, I don't quite know how I managed to get from ergonomic keyboards to here either :)


  1. Ah... Alchemy, Ergonomy... this is a gorgeous stream of consciousness, just like the Hermitage. What a magical place Blogsville is. I like that Dark Sun business too, and will see what the book has to say. You do point me to some pleasant places, Sue:)

  2. and that is part of the grand adventure of allowing the mind to riff on a topic and see what random connections appear in the process....yes indeedy those synapses are crackling

  3. Haha.  Sometimes the synapses crackle *too* much.  Thanks, Kel :)

  4. Blogsville is grand, ain't she, Harry :)


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