My 16 year old daughter was diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder and then, at the age of 57, so was I. A lifetime of struggle was placed into a context that made sense of a lot of failure and frustration. This blog documents and celebrates what has happened to me since.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

transcription errors

I just finished a very interesting book called Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman. I recommend it to anyone who reads the Bible but that's not why I bring it up.

For as long as I can remember I have marked up books as I read them. I most frequently use with some kind of highlighter, although I have also underlined in pencil. I began thnking a long time ago that I should at least go back, at the end of a reading session to look at what I marked but I didn't until quite recently. A month or so ago, as I was reading a college text book (again about the Bible, as it relates to the history of the early Christian movement) I started each morning's reading session by reviewing that which I had marked the previous day.

I have also thought that I should take some of what I marked and transcribe it somewhere, in some form, that I could find things, again, when I had need of the source of some reference. But I never did that, either, until I started with this book. Doing this, creating a digital file called "Notes: Misquoting Jesus," was not just, it turned out, a useful process of abstracting for later reference, it was also both a discipline (in regard to "overcoming" my ADD) and it was an object lesson in what this particular book was about.

As I transcribed passages from the book (some of them quite lengthy) I made mistakes--in just the way the author describes one of the ways that the scribes who copied the Biblical documents made mistakes. Not paying attention, letting my mind wander--whatever it can be called, there it was happening, right before my very eyes. I was doing it.

The discipline of this transcribing is really good for me. The kind of concentration that I want--which I imagine (quite wrongly, I am certain) that everyone in the world has who is not ADD--requires me to consciously concentrate. And that is something I have to practice. Perhaps some day I will have that kind of concentration without constant self reminding and perhaps I will not. I would hope that this habit, and the medication, would result in that. But even if the habit and the medication only result in my consciously concentrating more often I am still the winner.

I have been doing the Concerta for about eleven months, now. What I have learned about it, thus far, is that it is not a cure, in and of itself. I struggled for fifty odd years trying to come up with a set of habits, a modus operandi, to do better work. At times I did think I was ADD but I never followed up clinically, partly because I didn't really think I was ADD (after all, don't people "outgrow" ADD?) and partly because I would be seen as a "drug seeker." But I did read the self help books and the books on organizing one's life (want to borrow some? I still have a modest shelf of them), in so far as my disability allowed for it, I was introspective about myself and the way I went about things. I built up quite a repertoire of strategies that I employed inconsistently. The results were inconsistent. But the medication has enabled me to be more consistent in employing the strategies.

Damn. I wanted this to instant and painless and forever. It's work. But it's really, really working.

About Me

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I am a convinced Beanite Friend, a member of Bridge City Friends Meeting, Willamette Quarterly Meeting and North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Notwithstanding the doubts of some who claim the name, I am a Christian who does a Buddhist practice and believes that God talks to everyone, all the time. I have worked in the judicial branch of government, as well as being a trial lawyer, a public school teacher (counselor and coach), a kite merchant, and a Marine Corp Sergeant. I am currently working as a consultant to public and private agencies on issues of child welfare, juvenile justice, and substance abuse treatment courts.