Monday, September 15, 2014


Geometry was one of my favorite subjects in high school, along with algebra, biology, and French. I really got the logic of shapes, angles, arcs, and their relationships (as described by algebraic formulas). Pythagoras was a friend of mine. I see shapes everywhere I look. I am a graphic learner, seeing things (even words) in my mind. If I see something, I can usually remember it, whereas if I hear something, I'm less likely to retain it. It's no surprise then that English and literature were my worst subjects. Concepts without physical form were difficult for me (like trying to interpret the intent of an author, especially a poet. Shakespeare was lost on me). Back then, I couldn't write a coherent essay to save my life.

The steeple on the church of Saint-Martin in Ligueil rises above geometric shapes in the back streets of town.

I was better at French than I was at English. Partly because the level of high school French (for Americans, anyway) is much more elementary than high school English. And partly because, at that level, French was a series of formulas, and the words were little pictures in my head. Still, I never failed a subject, and always managed to get good grades somehow. Some might have said that I was a good test-taker, being able to figure out most of the correct answers without actually knowing them, if that makes sense.

It wasn't until computers came along in my adult life that I could actually get a handle on writing. Typing and seeing my words on a screen almost as fast as I thought them made a huge difference for me. That, and the ease of editing, or regrouping, the words. Again, it's partly a graphical thing, I think, like geometry.


  1. I like this post very much. I think I'm a graphical person too and I guess I know what you mean.

  2. It's fascinating how technology changed things for you. I would have assumed you were always interested in writing. I, on the other hand, always loved English and literature and once I hit high school had little interest the sciences and advance math. But I'm also always drawn to visual geometry.... which means I love the above image and really enjoy how you see things.

  3. I liked science when I was young, and I liked the formulas of Algebra at first, but advanced math just got annoying for me. Still, part of what I like about French is the grammar-- the little formulas. I don't like approaching language in a haphazard way. I like to write a clear essay (now, when there is no pressure for it being related to a grade), but I hate having to figure out literary analysis myself. I love visuals, too.

  4. What an interesting story! My writing also improved when I was able to use a computer. I like to start my thoughts "in the middle" and add the intro later, an approach that's easy on a computer and next to impossible with a typewriter.


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