Writing Shorthand

In one of my first blog posts I promised I’d eventually get around to writing a blog post about my experiences of writing shorthand.

At my secondary school, Preston Technical College, from Form 3 (year 9) we were offered a stream of Commercial subjects. Science and Maths were never my thing (still aren’t) and although I was writing poetry, back then girls often trained as teachers, nurses, hairdressers or secretaries and certainly nobody I knew ever left school to become a Writer or Poet.

So from Form 3 I learned to type, and because I was also playing the piano, the typing came easily. Then from Form 4 (year 10), Pitman’s shorthand and stenography were offered. I remember having thoughts of being a court reporter, but in the end, after 3 years of typing and two years of shorthand plus other business subjects such as book-keeping (which I didn’t like so much – those dashed ‘numbers’ again), I was ready to join the workforce as a fully fledged Personal Assistant.

By sheer accident I ended up working for three large oil companies, H.C.Sleigh (Golden Fleece Petroleum), Ampol Petroleum and The Shell Oil Company as well as some temp secretarial work in London. I did the waitressing thing in Scotland (and cleaned toilets), aupairing in Rome and along the way (to support the travel bug) I served take-away chicken at Kentucky Fried and soft-serve ice cream at a shopping centre mall . . . somewhere.

So, back to the shorthand, my shorthand teacher was a wonderful lady and brilliant teacher called Mrs Dalton and somehow, although she’s lived in another state for many years, we still even now, exchange Christmas cards and about 5 years ago I visited her with my family.

Shorthand has been that useful thing in life I’ve never forgotten, something to fall back on in all sorts of situations and I suspect now, I never will.

Here’s a sample:

Shorthand sample - Corinne Fenton

And this is what it says:

This is a demonstration of shorthand as I remember it.

At secondary school it was one of my favourite subjects

and one which I used in the workforce for many years.

When I started my Professional Writing and Editing course

I used shorthand a lot when I was taking notes in lectures

which meant I could write down most of what the lecturer

was saying.

I am not saying this is perfect shorthand but even today

I still enjoy writing it very much.

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  1. Karen Tayleur It does make copying from you very tricky though, C.
    May 25, 2011 at 8:44 am · Reply
    • Corinne Fenton
      corinne Yep, that's it. My sister and I used to leave notes for each other - eg. where the front door key was hidden if we weren't at home. Most of the time it worked.
      May 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm · Reply
  2. Chris Bell I remember seeing you write notes in writers' talks too, Corinne, and being very envious of your shorthand talent in class. Karen is right, if I missed something I couldn't look over your shoulder to catch up or copy. :) Thanks for the fascinating background too.
    May 25, 2011 at 10:18 am · Reply
    • Corinne Fenton
      corinne Thanks Chris but I'm not sure how fast I could actually go these days.
      May 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm · Reply
  3. Kaye Baillie I was able to read lots of your shorthand here, Corinne. I studied Pitmans in the late seventies but was never very fast. I didn't reach the stage where it became automatic the way touch typing did. Shorthand is a cool looking thing though.
    May 25, 2011 at 11:12 am · Reply
    • Corinne Fenton
      corinne Oh, that's great Kaye. Yes, I had a friend who wrote the most beautiful shorthand but she could never read her own back. Such a pity.
      May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm · Reply
  4. Lorraine Marwood What surprising talents you have Corinne- so you will be taking shorthand notes tomorrow?
    May 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm · Reply
    • Corinne Fenton
      corinne Yes, sure will. Let's just hope I can read them back.
      May 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm · Reply
  5. Cecilia Hi Corinne, Hats off to your shorthand skills. I also still employ my shorthand and I'm really proud of it...people think I am 'strange' when they see it but I love the time it saves with notetaking etc. All the best to you Cecilia
    June 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm · Reply
    • Corinne Fenton
      corinne Hi Cecilia. Glad someone else loves shorthand and still uses it. Thank you.
      June 22, 2011 at 6:53 am · Reply

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