Muscle Memory

My work schedule has changed, and I am now one of the few people at my office on Sundays.  Today I had a lot of tasks to do, although most were somewhat mindless.  I chose to put on some music, since it was really quite otherwise, and for some reason I was in the mood for musicals.

A couple of the musicals I listened to have an extra association for me: I was a dancer in them.  Today I discovered that my muscle memory is so good that I can still do parts of the choreography I performed in college and even in high school.  It’s a bit disconcerting to find your legs and arms moving in patterns you haven’t performed in 15 years.

As humans we do a lot of things from muscle memory.  Very few people need to think about the keys on a computer keyboard while they type, for example.  (I “hunt and peck” without the hunting – it drives my mother crazy to see me typing without using home row, but even I don’t have to look anymore.)  Tha muscle memory is what allows us to accomplish more than one thing at once, including writing.

I’ve mentioned before that tasks which don’t require active brain power (those muscle memory tasks like cleaning) are the times when I do a lot of the creating that goes with writing.  Even without that level of multi-tasking, you couldn’t write successfully without muscle memory.  Remember when you were learning to type, or even to write?  It was incredibly frustrating to think about every letter, which required simpler thoughts and shorter sentences.  Imagine if you had to think about the spelling and use of every word, how to use your fingers to make that word appear.  No one would write much of anything if it weren’t for muscle memory.

I like it, even if it does mean my muscles remember dances that my brain barely recalls.  🙂


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. broadsideblog
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 18:05:01

    I also think, if you write a lot or for a living, there’s an intellectual sort of muscle memory…the basic structure of most news stories, anyway, is really pretty much a template in itself.


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