Sunday, November 05, 2006

A lost art



I've had some emails thanking me for the book. Amongst the comments were a few that remarked on my handwriting. Once again it is time to come out of the closet and finally admit aloud that I am a complete perve for a good hand!

The trouble is that this beautiful art is dying. When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not a quick scribble to the milkman or a note to remind yourself to buy loo roll on the way home but a full 3-4 page letter to a friend?

These days we spend our time filling out forms (mostly in capitals), and rarely take the time to perfect our penmanship. Schools spend less and less time teaching letter formation, preferring to encourage computer literacy. Today the phone and email has taken over from the personal script that says so much about us.

I can remember groaning over the spider-like efforts of the feckers. Annoyed at the lack of care, smudges and smears that littered the paper. They have improved, but they do not share my quivering joy in coming across a perfect hand.

Am I alone, or was I just born in the wrong time?

20 comments:

Media Bunny said...

Congrats on the book. Wow, your handwriting is gorgeous. I don't handwrite unless I can't help it because my handwriting is really bad. And it gets worse the faster I need to write. In my last job my boss saw my minute notes and thought I'd written in shorthand. I hadn't, I was just writing fast!

skint writer said...

Well, my handwriting is rubbish, I've even been known to recreate a printed out form in Word or something so that I can fill it in on screen.

Marie said...

I have terrible handwriting - I can't even understand it myself sometimes! And since I began using a computer I think it's got a lot worse!

Sian Lewis said...

At school (in Brasil) they made us do very flowery writing-- lots of swishes and swirls. I've since lapsed into 'staccato' (for lack of a better word). But every now and again I lapse back into the flourishes...

Minx said...

No, no, no, naughty people. Get back your desks and practice.

Yes Sian, lots of swishes and swirls (have you got a sample?). And Skint - that is disgraceful, an artist? Shame on you.

skint writer said...

You'll find my response to your disgrace over on my blog

skint writer said...

should add - it's just something I threw to the Akashic records about a year ago, not in response to this :)

clare said...

I used to quite like my handwriting - it was a bit unconventional but I thought it OK - but now I can't seem to control my pen at all. I think (and hope) it is because I type all the time.

I do love good handwriting though. I admire it in others.

Roberta said...

Oh I have to agree with the Media Bunny. I have been typing so long...my handwriting has gone to pot.

There are different muscle groups used in typing and holding a pen. It's difficult to cramp the uncramped.

I am going to make a concerted effort to start willing these tired knuckles to my bidding again!

I used to have lovely script.

Susan Abraham said...

Hi Minx,
I write all my stories and other creative work on the computer.
But for a while now, I had a desire to go back to handwriting, like a friend long missed.
So I have been practising my script And I have gone back to writing letters & cards. Also I write poetry in longhand now instead of on my laptop.

(A beauty of a post)

jason evans said...

My handwriting is, um, not the best. However, I still handwrite notes to people. The extra effort and personal touch is meaningful, I think.

Julia Buckley said...

My handwriting is appaulling. I used get into all kinds of trouble for it at school. I'm sure I failed English just because they couldn't read what I'd written! I used to practice like mad but was never really able to improve.

I do like to read nice handwriting - but thank god for the computer, I say!

Atyllah said...

No, you're not alone. Seeing a beautiful hand is so evocative, such a welcome change from the scrawl we usually rush to produce. I recall learning calligraphy at art school and how that influenced my writing - for the better. It's always a delight to see a beautiful flowing handwritten note - lovely that you'ver received some!

Gabriele C. said...

I took a course in machine writing when I was 12 because my handwriting resembles 'dried worms writhing with stomach ache' as my father put it. :)

Not that his scribbling is any more readable, but he can type fast, too.

Tiggi said...

If you were born in the wrong time then I'm just exceptionally lost!
I do not write a lot of letters, but I try write my best friends an occaisonal one and my grandparents!
It is a definite improvement on my lecture notes ;)
And speaking of it, I pulled out my calligraphic pen yesterday to add some decoration to my little art booklet. Don't worry the art's not dead yet.
Funny though that the poeple that I know make an effort to real writing are all form England. Must come with the fancy writing paper. In America I have not founf a decent page yet, unless you want to start scrap booking!
Hapy writing!

Sharon J said...

First Ces and now you! And just when I was beginning to think I was alone!

I love writing - I love forming every letter exactly as I want it, I'm a huge fan of beautiful hand writing and I'm saddened by the fact that email has all but killed the art of 'proper' letter writing.

I had one friend left who still wrote me 'proper' letters. I so looked forward to them and would make myself a cup of coffee, sit down at the table and savour reading them. Alas, she's now moved on to email and letters are no more :-(

I think I'll have to start advertising for penfriends.

Minx said...

Oh no, oh no, no, no! Don't get me onto to paper Tiggi, but you know how important paper is, right? (check out Meike's arty sites at Implicit Lychopsy).

And then if we are going to talk paper then we should surely talk pens! I buy hundreds of them and only use three. Well maybe two, and death to anyone who nicks them!

Saaleha said...

see, I'm like Clare. I used to write really neatly. Used to do fancy printing, even a little calligraphy. But I can't seem to do much except the fancy stuff now. ANd if I'm forced to actually write something by hand, well, let's say you'd have to know me to be able to read it.

Sam Wright said...

Well, in ten years of Naval duty, I wrote a great deal of leters. After the first 20 or so, I was told that my writing was beyond illegible so I began to print. Even that can be hard to read, bu it's much easier than trying to sift through my cursive.
Maybe if I took the time to improve it, my writing would get better,but I'm too old to change that now :-)

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