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It’s no secret that I’d much rather write longhand than use the computer for my creative endeavors.  I like the idea of my brain flowing onto paper through a pen rather than the clacking of keys into pixels. Handwriting is silent and elegant and personally expressive.  I don’t receive many hand-written notes these days, except from my mom and I’d know her handwriting anywhere, but when I do I like to look over the letters and spacing, and get a little obsessive about it.

In light of the failure of the LBBP and the rekindling of new smaller more intimate ventures, I’m looking into ways to spice up my handwriting.  It’s one thing to write for myself, since I’m the only one reading it, but when we’re talking about others having to decipher it, I get a little worried. Imagine my happy surprise when I started using my Fly Fusion Pen for the first time on Saturday (I will talk about my new toy obsessively for a while so get used to it) and discovered that my handwriting was considered ‘standard” and I don’t have to change anything in regards to how the Pen and Program recognize and translate my handwriting into text.  In that regard, I guess I’m pretty normal.  *grin*

Still, it interested me greatly to see an article in the Chicago Tribune about the resurgence of handwriting as something that should be specifically taught.  Studies show that children with good penmanship are more capable of expressing thoughts coherently with less effort.  Also since 2006, the essay portion of the SAT has to be handwritten AND legible.  When I was in college, all of my English final exams were in-class essay style and they had to be absolutely legible, whether printed or in cursive.

When I entered first grade, both my mother and I were proud that I had mastered my letters and colors and could print a few choice words and my name (albeit backwards).  However my new school being parochial and decidedly interested on a child’s soul, had taught the kindergartners cursive writing in addition to their basic letters, colors, and numbers. God only reads prayers written in neat Palmer Script was what I came away with that first week.  I worked very hard at my penmanship for many years before deciding that I hated it. My friends all had fun looking script, and throughout my high school years I experimented.

I don’t know what I settled on, but I do know that in my journals of the last ten years or so, it’s mostly cursive, or some sort of scrolling jumble of both printing and cursive.   How I admire letters written between family members or lovers in beautiful penmanship with not a scratch out on the page.  I’m absolutely envious. When handwriting, care had to be taken to ensure as few scratch outs as possible, otherwise it was a waste of ink and paper, neither of which were easy to come by. We consider those days old-fashioned and quaint, but the ideas expressed on just a few pages, even from supposedly uneducated people, are deep and clever.

When we use our computers for either texts or e-mails or blogs, we have the luxury of going back and adding an idea or deleting a paragraph. Post Scripts are really no longer necessary but I always enjoy seeing them, even in e-mails.

Tell me about your handwriting. Chicken scratch? Archive-ready? Barely readable?

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Just this fox. I'm a writer of horror and dark fantasy. I totally don't brag about it. The latter statement is an utter lie.
  • Molly
    August 18, 2008 - 3:41 pm

    Oh cool. that would also be a great thing for writing when you are away from your computer. sometimes I prefer handwritten to digital-but those times are getting fewer and further inbetween.

    I think that needs to go on a wish list somewhere!

  • MontiLee
    August 18, 2008 - 4:15 pm

    As I do all of my main writing away from the computer, the Fly is absolutely invaluable.

    As I understand it, there’s an adult version called Pulse. I saw it advertised at Target, I think, over the weekend. However it costs five times as much as what I paid for my Fly and I honestly don’t need my pen to play music. That’s why I have an iPod. I also seriously doubt I’ll ever have 2G worth of stored on it without a backup. That’s just asking for trouble.

  • Davecat
    August 18, 2008 - 11:19 pm

    For a brief five-to-ten second period, I thought to myself, ‘man, since my crazy draconian job won’t let me use my Treo while I’m on the clock, I could get a Fly and write out my Emails on paper, then upload the bastards when I get home and get my productivity back!’ But then I realised that I’d have to break my hands to get anything resembling decent handwriting out of them.

    Like you, Monti, my so-called handwriting is a unique fusion of print and cursive, and by that I mean cuneiform and carcrash. As I tell people (only half-jokingly), I can trace the decline of my handwriting to the day I bought a computer. Heh.

But how do you really feel?

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