This week, I stumbled on the concept of constructed scripts - writing systems that are intentionally developed by people. J.R.R. Tolkien did this when he developed Tengwar, the beautiful Elvish script. He used it to write poetry, tell stories, and give the characters a rich culture.
When I was in middle school, I remember designing an alphabet. I taped it onto the corner of my desk next to a list of birthstones. I was fascinated by foreign writing systems - Greek, Hebrew, Russian Cyrillic, Japanese, Braille, Inuktitut, shorthand. I loved transcribing text into these other systems. My latest explorations have been of the elvish language Shiväisith and its rune-based writing system. But there's also Star Trek's Vulcan Calligraphy, Star Wars' Aurebesh, ...
And now I see that there are other people who like the same kinds of things - writing in other alphabets, designing their own writing systems, or even their own languages. Folks who develop new languages call themselves "conlangers" (Constructed Language) and people who develop new scripts, alphabets, or writing systems call them "conscripts" (Constructed Scripts). Wow! There are some lovely scripts out there :) I decided to try developing one for myself just for fun and for my own writing and prayers.
I find that transcription is a way that I have to slow down my hurried-anxious self. It gives me space to breathe and helps me to focus on the words that I'm reading. Learning another language can be difficult because there are so many things to focus on; but transcription is focused on just one letter at a time. What does this Psalm actually say? How is the Psalmist feeling, what is he revealing about God's character, where is he, what does he look forward to, etc.
On Easter we sang the hymn O Sacred Head Now Wounded, and this line stuck with me: "What language shall I borrow / to thank Thee, Dearest Friend?" We can praise God with many languages and styles of music, and I wonder if I can praise Him with my own dabblings in the beauty of word, picture, and script? Sometimes, I feel like I haven't found my heart language yet - the one that really allows me to express myself. Maybe it hasn't been constructed yet :)