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Writing A Wrong, #JusJoJan

A bunch of holes, punched into a piece of paper – what is it?


As it was once done, braille still can be written with the slate and stylus, a piece of metal or plastic with lines of the six cells that make up braille.

A piece of paper is slipped inside the slate, lined up, so the stylus can
holes in the appropriate spots to make all the individual braille letter combinations.

I know it sounds confusing and complicated to people upon hearing this, but it is how I’ve known to read and write since I was a child.

Handy when writing postcards when traveling, though they are less common than when I was younger.

It makes that simple thump thump thump sound as I press the stylus into the correct spot in the small six dot space, which lets me know I am right where I mean to be. One centimetre off and the letter I meant to write has a wrong dot in it.

Though I no longer use the slate and stylus method, as I prefer the speed of Perkins brailers or, nowadays, my electronic/Bluetooth braille display.

Sure, technology truly is amazing and has made literacy for the blind more efficient, but without the basic yet brilliant invention of braille to begin with, the world would be without the beauty of braille for all these years.

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Ooh, I get to combine two stream of consciousness prompts today:




It’s a story of one of my favourite things: love letters.

Well, with the invention of all the modern technologies nowadays these don’t exist like they once did, but I still will always love the old fashioned letter, love letter in particular.

The most romantic thing one can do is write one. A few times, this has happened to me, in my life. Ah … aw, just like from some distant romantic memory, of a time, when letters were one person’s best way they could think to make another aware of the affection they held for them.

Well, my fifteen-year-old self sure thought it meant something special when a boy wanted to learn a new skill, not just simply to write a letter, love or otherwise, but to learn braille so they could communicate with me, even as email and other growing technology was becoming common.

It was like a secret code between us, one the other students couldn’t simply get a hold of mistakenly, allowing the private words between the two of us to spread through the school, as the sharing and airing of young love and laundry tend to do. Being that our declarations were in braille, this would be virtually impossible.

Every few days I would get a new one delivered at my locker. The little slate and stylus device and the card with the braille alphabet was all that boy needed and soon I was getting letters, which grew, right along with his confidence, in length of sentence and page count.

This went on for a while. I read and reread each one, deciphering what was being said, the sweet compliments and teenage relationship conflicts, always and forever immortalized in a series of raised bumps.

So strange to read these now, years and years after the events of these letters took place, to look back at the girl I was then, compared to who I have become, how far I’ve come. That’s what a letter is really good for, for the owner of a love letter. It’s a window on a time long gone.

I love my crazy batch of teenage secret code letters.

More than ten years later I had another one of those letters in my possession, this time, as an adult. Oh, how times had changed.

Different sender. Different person was I who received it, or so it often felt like. It wasn’t only the specific words, but the time and care it took the letter’s writer to craft it that made it so meaningful and valuable.

Just one this time. Email had become a much too convenient mode for communicating, but one Christmas gift was this single letter, again written in code, of which only a select few could decipher.

Oh, the time writing, translating (with the help of an online translation tool, from print word to braille dot combo). All those evening hours at work, waiting for a phone to ring, but when silence fell in the rest of an office building, the hours of work to write this one letter were painstakingly applied.

I held onto this precious gift for as long as I could, all the newness of a budding relationship laid out in its three pages. I would hold tight to this expression of feeling for as long or longer than I’d done with the teenage ones before it. Surely I would.

And then the chaos of a game, later and fondly known as “Musical Houses” would commence and, in the shuffle, the letter was lost.

Oh, how the recipient would search, high and low, in box after box and everywhere else she could think of, but that letter would never show itself again.

So much guilt. So much hope. So much bitter regret and disappointment, self pity and self loathing, but all this would not bring that lone secret document/love letter back from its hiding place, in and amongst the secret space it stayed hidden.

Maybe it was meant to stay hidden anyway. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe it was a sign from the universe that some things, some just aren’t meant to be, some things that are lost are not meant to be found again.

Or maybe it will show up one day, some day far ahead into the future. It’s got to be somewhere, right? It lives in the past, for now, along with countless more love letters of days gone by.

Some things should probably just stay buried away, in time or space or place. Maybe it’s time to let them go, let go, right along with the guilt and all the other swirling feelings that a letter could always bring up again, in some far future moment, up ahead, years and years from now. Who the hell knows.

Will anyone ever take the time again, think it worth their precious hours, to learn the secret code? Will just such love letters die the same slow death, disappear into the oblivion of things that are no longer and can never again be? I must not let it get to me, all those “what if’s”.

I mustn’t!