Silence is Deafening

There was a great deal of mirth when we started this blog in the summer of 2017. Perhaps we suffered from pain or fear, but we knew that there was a need to begin preserving and sharing knowledge. We did not expect an audience. We were told, perhaps rightly, that there was no reason for readers to find us credible. There were no delusions of grandiosity. There was only a single belief and overriding directive: It was the right thing to do. We had inspiration and experience in the field. We saw the many questions our contemporaries had. We could begin to document these questions, issues, and answers or simply continue the impossible game of answering each one individually on Facebook.

Imagine ourselves in a plain white room with no windows or doors. There is only a voice every 12 hours that tells us the time. It is now 6 a.m., says the voice. We do not know if it is really 6 a.m. Nor do we know if the last time was really 6 p.m. We do know that the time in between, we are left to our thoughts, as dark or optimistic as they may be.

We saw this in the interactions across the field. One often only gets to talk about the field when one is brave enough to put their face on a question or statement. Is the time 6 a.m.? Groups dedicated to answering questions could also devolve into mocking questions and creating an environment that even the most zealous stenographers did not wish to take part in. Of course it is not 6 a.m., mocks the voice, never bothering to say what we really want to know.

Without input, our newbies and students may stumble blindly into the same pitfalls we did. Without guiding voices, they may lose the ability to tell the time. We have grown in readership not because the things we say are particularly profound, but because we say them. We do not back down from hard truths. We try to give credit when it is due. We are always open to changing our minds when a situation warrants it. We inform whenever we can, and do not assume everyone knows what we know. We feel the field would benefit from these principles, and so we share them freely, hoping to see more discussion and camaraderie grow in New York and across the country for stenographers.

We encourage more voices to join us in guiding those who need guidance. One need not any special qualification to lead. One need only disregard the voice that tells them not to speak out. Continue blogging, talking, encouraging, and answering questions. Our greatest achievement will not be the hours spent dictating the time, but the day we have built a foundation of knowledge so strong that our learners can escape the room and teach others to see the morning.

The Price of Perfection

This one goes out to my many perfect contemporaries. This one is for every perfectionist, and even some want-to-be perfectionists. There’s no easy way to say it, so let’s start off with a story about Morris. Morris is a perfectionist. Day after day, he takes the time to carefully perfect everything that he does. In fact, he’s got his commute timed, his work scheduled, and everything falls into place perfectly all the time. One day, Morris comes up with an idea, a perfect one, naturally, and begins to work on it. Except it isn’t perfect. It’s just missing something. He can’t release his creation like this. Morris’s perfect idea never sees the light of day because it just wasn’t perfect enough for him.

Why do we let great be the enemy of good? Why do we strive to be perfect when sometimes all the world needs is good enough? For some it’s a code of honor, for others a badge, and for a few, a compulsion. I’ve caught myself many times refusing to act, waiting to do something, or wanting a thing to have better conditions before I set off. Now I wonder, how many ideas in this world never come to fruition because they are never started? The old cliche, “once begun, half done” resonates here.

We can actually see this in history. Many great things came about through apparent happenstance, willingness to share the imperfect, or the imperfect contributions of a collective. The internet, penicillin, peanut butter. It is nice to romanticize and buy into the idea that there is some coordinated sentience pushing things along the “right” way, and that things happen because they’re meant to be, but ultimately every step forward comes with a new set of consequences, whether beneficial or malignant, and the solutions or next steps come from the people who are willing to eschew the cloak of perfection and take up the mantle of doing. So what is your next step? Will you await the perfect condition before contributing, or will you get out there and contribute to something? There’s a world of art, music, computers, steno, literature, and study. You need not despair if the thing you’re working on right now does not work out. There’s a world of things to do and see, but only for those willing to open their eyes to an imperfect world, and only for those willing to open their minds up to being imperfect.