Saturday, May 8, 2010

Three Inches of Psalms

RantWoman has taken up reading Braille. RantWoman would like there to be an overpowering sense of leading and intentionality. Instead Rantwoman has yet another episode where she gets to get her God somehow embedded in the world of the practical--with a point or two of moral ambiguity to boot.

RantWoman has been fussing around learning Braille SLOWLY for a good while. RantWoman even has a textbook and a dictionary. RantWoman being the edgy, volatile sort the world sees all over her blog, is quite peeved about this textbook. One big reason: English Braille has lots of contractions and short-form whole words. This is exactly the stuff RantWoman needs to practice.

However, RantWoman really needs to practice the CORRECT forms. The textbook has this annoying tendency to introduce signs, include sample text to practice and then turn around the next page and add new signs that use words and letter combinations just abbreviated incorrectly the previous page. RantWoman is still in the definitely need to practice phase and wants to practice CORRECT examples. If RantWoman is going to be reading about blessings for instance, (warning: braille esoterica here) she gets to deal with the difficulty of distinguishing letter k from the dots 4-6 that is the less letter combinaion whether it is a suffix or not.

Conveniently for RantWoman's immortal soul, the abbreviations in English Braille are heavily weighted toward Biblical language: Lord, Spirit, World, Word, Work, not to mention the topicality of blessings and righteousness in terms of things RantWoman needs to practice. The fact that the Bible abounds with these terms is topical both on theological grounds and in terms of the simple pedagogical value of repetition.

RantWoman's attention span in Braille is highly abbreviated. RantWoman's brain just is not wired to distinguish and map all the things she needs to map and even the most compelling text tends to vaporize in a cloud of dots after only a few paragraphs.

Comes now RantWoman's leading to read the Bible, to read QUIETLY without, say, a loud electronic voice. Add peculiarities of RantWoman's living situation: RantWoman lives in a building with a small library that includes at least PART of three different Bibles in Braille. Two sets of volumes are from the King James version. Neither set is complete. Some of the volumes have walked off; others exist in duplicate. There is also part of a Revised Standard Version, though again quite a bit of the Bible has walked off. There used to be a Book of Mormon too. RantWoman has no idea what happened to it. There is also quite a bit of the Harry Potter school of holy writ. Other than that, lots of material about sports heroes.

RantWoman thinks there is probably a checkout procedure. However, rantWoman tends to visit the library quite late at night when there are no humans around to monitor things. Hence, RantWoman has now walked off with the only available copy of Psalms for her random reading delectation. It's the perfect thing for RantWoman's miniscule attention span.

RantWoman is unsure why she feels more of a moral pang about this than carting off, say, the Green Eggs and Ham cookbook to her private abode, but perhaps we just get to take RantWoman's conscience where she finds it, with three inches of Psalms next to her bed for bedtime perusal.

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