Handwriting appears to be a dying form. National commentary has sometimes focused on why we continue to teach handwriting in schools to our children since we are in the "digital" age and using a computer is a far easier way to get things done. Umberto Eco, the world-famous novelist, even wrote an article lamenting the lost art of handwriting.
This saddens me, and not because I am a history lover who treasures old things, but because I feel we will lose a fundamental part of who we are as human beings if we leave handwriting by the wayside.
Our handwriting says a lot about us. There are handwriting experts out there that can decipher the type of person you are, your health issues, your past experiences, hidden talents, etc, just from how you write. That's an awful lot of information! But when you stop and think about it, our handwriting is as individual as we are. We move the pen or pencil across the paper in a certain way, making unique loops and swirls that showcase our originality.
While I love my computer keyboard for allowing me to write much faster than I can with just pen and paper (plus editing is a breeze without that pesky white-out!), I also cling to my old-fashioned paper and pen. I even went so far as to buy a quill feather pen, ink, and parchment paper to experience how those of yesteryear wrote letters and novels and stories. It's something I think everyone should do at least once so that you may truly appreciate the art of handwriting.
And that's just it - it is art. Calligraphy is essentially the art of handwriting, but I'd like to argue that even ordinary, everyday handwriting is art. When I sit down to write in my journal and let my pen flow over the paper, I marvel at how I create words with all these different angles and curves and swoops. It's actually quite amazing.
When is the last time you looked at your handwriting? Played with it? Wrote your name over and over, making it look fancy or goofy or serious or fun? Maybe sometime in the near future, grab a nice pen, one that flows well when writing (I'm a big fan of the gel pens) and just start writing. Don't become a slave to technology. While the computer keyboard and the Blackberry and the cell phone have improved our lives, they've also robbed us of part of our personality, the personality that comes through in our handwriting. And don't even get me started on how these devices have butchered the English language and our inability to write complete sentences. (Fine examples include: C u ltr or U c me? GAH!!!).
Thankfully, my daughter's school still teaches handwriting, and my daughter has even won prizes from her teacher for her excellent handwriting ability. That makes me extremely proud. I want her to know how to write. And you can be sure that I'm going to put off buying that cell phone for her for as long as I can get away with it.
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