Writing front to back then back to front
November 22, 2007 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Is there a term for writing only on the right-hand page of notebooks then flipping the notebook over and working from back cover to front cover?

I *hate* writing on the left-hand page of notebook. Maybe I have an odd pen-grip but I find the middle of the notebook seems to get in the way as a write (especially with spiral-bound notebooks!).

So I write only on the right page and once I get to the end of the notebook I close it, flip it vertically and start writing from back-cover to front-cover, again only writing on the right hand page.

Is there a term for this? Is it a popular technique and does it have any historical significance or is it actually really uncommon.
posted by TheAspiringCatapult to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Bidirectionally-inverted Alternating Dextrous Pagination.
posted by Rumple at 1:53 PM on November 22, 2007 [10 favorites]

posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 1:56 PM on November 22, 2007

I don't know if there's a name for it, but it's a damn good idea. I hate writing on the left pages of spiral notebooks.
posted by Venadium at 2:46 PM on November 22, 2007

Great idea, I'm gonna start doing that. I too hate that damn left page.
posted by evariste at 2:56 PM on November 22, 2007

Weird. I do that, but I'm a lefty. I can't help you with the name, though. (I like supporting my hand on the left page when writing in my Moleskine--handy when not sitting at a table...)
posted by QueSeraSera at 4:30 PM on November 22, 2007

It is a good idea. Have you found any companies that make notebooks with headers on alternating ends of the paper. Or I suppose it would work with no headers at all, as the lines would show through the paper. Anyhow, can you recommend any notebook brands?

And to answer your question: not that I know of. I like rumple's suggestion as a fancy technical way of describing this behavior, but I don't think any disciplines actually use it as the accepted term for such behavior. But it is fun to say.

Also, you could teach yourself to write left handed, and just alternate every page. Or even better, learn to write left handed and backwards, so that you don't smear any ink by running your hand over just-written words.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 4:33 PM on November 22, 2007

I do not really understand what is meant by the left side of a page.. but the way i use notebooks is by working through them in what is normally a backwards way, using what is considered the "back side" of the sheet (when the holes are to the right). Is that what you mean? I do this because i am left handed and the binding does thus not get in the way.
posted by fjardt at 4:35 PM on November 22, 2007

Common sense?
posted by DenOfSizer at 5:07 PM on November 22, 2007

I've done this forever. Well, in reverse because I'm left-handed. But I didn't ever think to name it. :)
posted by rokusan at 7:14 PM on November 22, 2007

Spiral aversion. It is common among certain schools in the rural south.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:12 PM on November 22, 2007

This is brilliant! (For those times when you can't get those spiral notebooks with the binding along the top anyways).
posted by Jahaza at 8:38 PM on November 22, 2007

Best answer: Well, boustrophedonic writing is writing that starts left-to-right, then on the next line goes right-to-left, and then back to left-to-right, etc. (the term "boustrophedonic" means "turning like an ox in ploughing"). It is not exactly the same as what you are doing, but perhaps you could call it "notebook boustrophedon" or "holistic boustrophedon"?
posted by Rock Steady at 5:55 AM on November 23, 2007

Best answer: Forgot obligatory Wikipedia link.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:56 AM on November 23, 2007

Best answer: This is a very common practice. In my work as a manuscripts librarian I have seen examples going back to the seventeenth century, and in fact I have a nineteenth-century example (the journal of a member of the Coleridge family, dating from 1835) on my desk in front of me at this very moment.

As far as I know there is no special term for it. If I were writing a catalogue description I would just say 'reversed', or 'written in both directions'. If you go to the British Library's manuscripts catalogue and do a keyword search on the word 'reversed' you will find a lot of examples.
posted by verstegan at 7:19 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

This doesn't answer the question, but during my schooling I learned that the right hand page can be referred to as "verso" and the left hand page as "recto." There might be some information for you if you follow in this vein.

on Wikipedia
posted by kpmcguire at 11:41 AM on November 23, 2007

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