Sunday, January 10, 2016

2015 Tour de France Shorthand Notebook -- Overview

I love Tour de France projects.  In 2010 and 2011 I painted nightly watercolors after watching each stage on TV (which you can see in the menus at right).  For the next three years, simply watching the tour was a project in itself, with my busy summertime work schedules!

But in the summer of 2015, I decided to do something new.  I combined my love of writing shorthand with sketching to create this:

What you're looking at is a 6'" x 8" spiral bound drawing notebook, which happens to be the same size as a standard Gregg Shorthand steno pad.  I stuck some yellow card paper over the cover and then added a Tour de France postcard my mother found on eBay.  I cut the paper to shape with a t-square ruler and an X-Acto knife and then attached it and the postcard to the notebook using Scotch double-sided tape.

After watching each stage in television, I opened up a fresh page of the notebook and got to work.  Here's one of the pages, so that you can see what I did each night:

Every evening I settled into a fairly regular process...

First, I wrote the stage number and geographical information at the top of the page with a felt-tipped pen.  Then I decided where I would place my sketch ... sometimes at the top, sometimes at the bottom, and other times in a corner.  After I finished the sketch using colored pencils and the felt-tipped pen, I then wrote the stage results using a ball-point Parker Jotter.  Next, I made evenly-spaced lines on the rest of the page using a mechanical pencil and a t-square ruler.  Last but not least, I wrote a summary in shorthand using the Jotter.  I didn't plan much; I basically just wrote whatever came to mind.

What is Gregg Shorthand?  Here in the U.S., it was the most widely used written system to record the spoken word from the early 1900's until shorthand began to sink into obsolescence in the 1980's.  My grandmother learned Gregg in High School and used it throughout her life.  From the first time I saw my grandmother write it, I thought shorthand was beautiful, fascinating, mysterious, and fun.  So in 2002 I decided to learn it.  By 2004 I had taught myself the basics from a used 1960's textbook (the Diamond Jubilee version of Gregg, for those of you in-the-know).  I'm not an experienced enough shorthand writer to do dictation yet, but I can keep personal notes fairly well.

In the next 21 posts, I'll share each page of my 2015 Tour de France Notebook and translate the shorthand for you.  I think the sketches tend to get a little better with each stage.  When you're doing a sketch and writing an entry each night one can't be too self-critical.  That was actually all part of the fun.  I loved spending time with this little notebook each evening of the 2015 Tour.


No comments:

Post a Comment