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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

Two Spaces

“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country." That is the first sentence I learned to type in typing class in 10th grade. I learned on an electric typewriter, but I have also used a manual Smith-Corona. So that makes me old I guess. But here’s what actually shows the world I’m old: I put two spaces at the end of each sentence. My writing looks like this: Sentence. Period. Space. Space. Sentence.

The argument that all the young whippersnappers are using is that we no longer need two spaces after each period because the sizing of all letters in each font are now uniform. Capital letters are not larger anymore so we don’t need the extra room between the end of one sentence and the beginning of a new one.

I understand the reasoning with the new thought process, but I’m standing firm with the old rule. When I am typing, my right thumb hits the spacebar twice in quick succession. It’s habit. I don’t know if I could stop it if I tried, and I don’t know if I’d want to. Space, both literal and metaphorical, is good; it gives us time and room to think, to be.

We are bombarded on a daily basis from all sides to do more in less time, to multitask, to stay in constant contact. This is my small way of taking a moment, of creating space.

That first sip of coffee in the morning is two spaces. Meditating is two spaces; stopping to smell the roses, brunch with a friend, reading a good book, all of these things are two spaces.

I was reading Charlotte Brontë’s The Professor, and I felt a little overwhelmed and rushed by the text until I figured out what was wrong; her sentences were so long. In fact, one sentence from the initial capital letter to the first period was 22 lines long. In contrast when reading The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain or The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, there was a spaciousness in the text and easy passage from one page to the next. Much the way life should be.

There are times when there is a density to our lives, and our calendars are full, but there must also be times of space and openness. To be successful we must have both. We must have balance.

As I write this and ponder those precious spaces, I’m sitting outside under a June moon, watching the fireflies come out as the sky gradually darkens amidst the song of cicadas and crickets. These are my two spaces. Room to breathe and think and utter a thank you.

So tomorrow when I’m at work, and I’m making phone calls, doing paperwork, and perhaps sending emails – when I type those two spaces at the end of my sentences I will remember, even in the midst of chaos and density, the joy to be found in the spaces in between.

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