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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

August 12th, 2010 (06:00 pm)



So, as noted, I've been doing "mirror writing" for years. I picked it up from a friend in high school who had learned to write her name and a few other phrases in mirror writing. I thought it was totally cool, and I picked it up easily. I loved it because it meant I could write (non-class-related) notes in class, and if the teacher caught me and tried to read the note aloud, s/he would get stuck standing in front of the whole class, staring foolishly at a sheet they couldn't read. I think one of my teachers thought I knew Cyrillic.

So it was fun, and I was sort of proud of the fact that I knew how to do it, but I never figured the fact that I could do it was really anything special. It seemed easy enough to pick up -- I couldn't write it in fluently the first time I tried, but I don't think it took me any longer than a few days or so to write in it as well as I do now.* I figured the only reason most people couldn't do it was that they'd never bothered to learn.

Except just now I came across a website about it, and, man, either the research studies that have been done about this are totally unreliable or else this mirror writing thing is just one more piece of proof that my brain is bonkers. There seems to be some consensus that an ability to mirror-write is actually genetic, with one site hypothesizing that it is the "phenotypic expression of an X-linked dominant gene," which... okay! Sure. More interesting, although not all that much more comprehensible, is the part where it says "It is hypothesised that mirror writers may comprise a very small group of people who not only have bilateral language centres but also have an interconnecting pathway between these centres via the corpus callosum." Man, I wish I knew what that meant. I did, however, grok the part where it said mirror-writing ability is linked to a family history of dyslexia (my dad's dyslexic), to synesthesia, and to a variety of autistic-spectrum disorders, including Rett's Syndrome. (Autistic spectrum REPRESENT, yo! NLD WHAT)

I've known for a long time that my brain is trippy as hell, of course. The NLD label is very useful but it doesn't actually fit me 100% (I'm quite good at reading people's emotions), and the various other issues I have -- bipolar, SID, seizure disorder, sleep disorder, etc. -- all seem to be linked together in some weird way and yet no one's come up with one diagnosis to cover them yet. And now here's one more thing. Mirror writing! The awesome thing about this one is that I actually like it.

Anyway, so there is all of that, and I was very curious/intrigued when I read all the material suggesting that mirror writing was an unusual skill, but I'm still not sure I believe it. It was pretty heavy on the hypotheses, and a few of the statistics they offered were just bogus (they ran an ad in a 65,000-circulation paper asking people who could read the following block of mirror writing text in under a minute to participate in a study; of those who did the study, ten could do mirror writing; they therefore divided 65,000 by ten and decided 1 in 6500 people can mirror-write. WTF, WORST STATISTICAL ANALYSIS EVER). I'm guessing it's a *hell* of a lot more common than that. But can everybody, or virtually everybody, learn to do it with ease, like I originally assumed? I would like to know.

Have you ever tried mirror writing before?

Yes, and I can do it fluently
6(16.7%)
Yes, and I can do it haltingly
7(19.4%)
Yes, and I can write a few words or something
1(2.8%)
Yes, and I can do print but not cursive
7(19.4%)
Yes, and I couldn't do it
0(0.0%)
No
11(30.6%)
Only when I needed to write HELP! I'M TRAPPED IN THE BLACKBOARD! or something
4(11.1%)

If you can do mirror-writing, how long did it take you to learn?

I didn't have to learn -- as a kid I began writing in reverse naturally and had to learn to write straight
1(5.9%)
I had no trouble with it the first time I tried
5(29.4%)
It took me a little practicing, but not much
6(35.3%)
A long time
0(0.0%)
I had to/have to work at it and concentrate still
5(29.4%)

Okay, so say you're not a mirror-writer. And also say you're bored at work or something. Go try to write some stuff in mirror writing. (Sometimes it's easier with the left hand, whether you're righty or lefty.) How'd it go?

Easy
6(27.3%)
I could probably learn
8(36.4%)
Ehhh
3(13.6%)
Total mindfuck, sorry
3(13.6%)
I would like to help you with this very much except for the part where I don't care
2(9.1%)

Do you think those poor people trapped in the blackboard ever got out?

Yeah, don't worry, I drew them a door
15(55.6%)
No, they'll pound forever on the sheets of chalkboard; they're the men who'll never return
6(22.2%)
DING DING DING I GOT THE REFERENCE DING DING DING DING DING
6(22.2%)

What about the ones trapped in the mirror-steam, though? I worry about them too.

Aw. I'm sorry to inform you that they get eaten by Bloody Mary
6(9.2%)
I'm sorry to inform you that they ARE Bloody Mary
6(9.2%)
Oh God, what the hell are we even talking about anymore?
7(10.8%)
You know, maybe if we just wrote Bloody Mary a nice note in mirror writing saying we didn't have her kid, she'd leave us all alone. Ever think of that?
6(9.2%)
...no
1(1.5%)
Aren't there supposed to be wombats here? Aren't wombats supposed to rescue all these terrible polls by plunking down at the end of them and forcing them to stop?
13(20.0%)
I want to see Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch in A Little Night Music!
6(9.2%)
I want to see Elaine Stritch play Bloody Mary in a musical about bathroom mirrors!
3(4.6%)
17(26.2%)


Fin.

_________________________________


*And yes, some of my mirror letters are weirdly shaped or malformed. My straight handwriting is sort of idiosyncratic and not at all Palmer standard, which makes things a little weird sometimes.

Comments

Posted by: Nathaniel Wolfthorn (ganimede)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
smaht

Leonardo da Vinci used mirror writing for everything, only using normal writing if it was something meant to be read by others. The general opinion seems to be that this is proof of his genius so I wouldn't be so fast to claim that it's cos your brain is bonkers!

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