Say hello to my little friend! She (pretty sure she's a 'she') is a Smith-Corona Classic 12 portable manual typewriter, that I bought a few weeks ago from someone on Craigslist (photo credit to the seller). I got new ribbons…
Having discussed and played with some concrete materials, we then moved on to a broader view of materials, in the form of Ergonomics and The Writing Space.
It is alarmingly easy to injure yourself, when you sit in one attitude for long periods as you do when writing (especially on a computer). Those who write on laptops are at increased risk, depending on how they position the laptop. I know this from personal, painful, experience, and will never take ergonomics for granted again.
We were given an ergonomics assignment for homework. Take a photo (or have someone take a photo) or make a drawing of yourself in your writing space, and complete the ergonomics checklist we were given. I felt pretty confident in my own space – it’s a proper desk with keyboard tray, etc., after all – but doing this made me aware of some deficiencies. This photo – and the discussion in class – shows that I need a wider keyboard tray so I can have my mouse/trackpad beside my keyboard rather than above/behind. I also need to adjust my chair height, to improve the angle of my wrists. And I could do with a lumbar roll.
I expected a discussion of Materials to be about pens, paper, printers, notebooks, computers, software, that kind of thing. And, because I know nothing, that’s exactly what it was not about, except in the most abstract way.
The first thing Betsy did was to start colouring outside the lines, metaphorically speaking.
With that understood, she asked, what is materials? The answer: materials is everything. (As in, everything, everyone, everywhere, all the time. Including your physical presence and body.) And then we did some exercises with and about materials.