What the world needs now

These beautiful words

I am beginning to think that I am the only one alive who still writes in cursive.

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Talk about your dying art.

And it makes me sad.

You can wax poetic about the information age all you want, but the fact of the matter is so many individuals (of all ages) just cannot hand-write – either for the life of them, or, well, because they just don’t know how.

(I won’t even get into what this means for spelling and grammar because that is a chestnut for another fire, er – time.)

I can remember being a little girl and wanting so badly to learn how to write in cursive.

As a kid, I was always on the move, and when I wasn’t practicing my times tables in the car on the way to piano – no joke, I can remember reciting my sevens over and over again while trying to memorize all of my scales and arpeggios – I was badgering my mother to teach me how to make my g’s look just like hers.

(My mom makes great, GREAT g’s.)

I finally wore her down and she bought me a booklet that taught me the letters, and gave me the means to practice them over, and over, and over again.

I pretty sure I finished all the worksheets in the space of a week, because once I began to get a feel for the English cursive alphabet, I was hooked.

It was like graphology crack, only for an eight year old.

(Graphology Flintstones crack?)

I loved the beautiful lines, and the dramatic loops; the way my letters ran together, and how the ink didn’t.

Because I was also a dancer, I imagined my words to be a series of steps, intricate and dazzling, but outwardly effortless.

Hand writing always made me feel so very posh. Like I somehow wrote myself into a royal lineage every time I signed my name, or marked down the date at the top of my in-class quizzes and essays.

As I grew up, I could never understand how my classmates steadfastly clung to their printing, unwilling to hand-write at any cost.

It seemed archaic.

And wrong.

I was astounded to find out at university that fellow students would actually print during midterms and finals.

Didn’t that take forever? Wouldn’t that cramp your hand twice as fast?

Why oh why would anyone forsake the promised script? Who were these non-disciples of the cursive way?

The job I had whilst in grad school required me to write a final exam (very top secret stuff here folks) and afterwards my examiner approached me to tell me that out of all forty candidates, I had been the only one to hand-write my answers.

I remain to this day, shocked, appalled, and just a little bit smug.

(Just kidding. I remain only two of those things.)

In terms of my relationship with writing these days, well, my favourite letters remain ‘r’ and ‘m’ – I like the way they feel in my hand and the way they glide away from my pen.

I love writing cards for loved ones, signing my name in wedding guest books, and filling out comment cards at conferences.

I like to think that I leave a little piece of myself every time I write, whenever I write.

And I look forward to being an old woman, sitting at her desk.

Smiling, I will put pen to paper.

And I will remember.

27 thoughts on “These beautiful words

  1. Oi! I hate cursive so, so much. 90% of the time it is illegible because everyone’s cursive is slightly different. Plus; I simply cannot write cursive in any fashion that would be deemed expedient or intelligible. I was cursed with probably the most awful penmanship of the modern age, just slightly worse than my father’s. And I love print, it looks better to me and I absolutely love the scritch scratch of pencil or pen to paper. It feels like I am fencing with the page, attacking it with all of my thoughts and winning. With pen in hand and paper as my foe, I am d’Artagnan facing off against Rochefort. Cursive makes me feel like I am in the color guard performing a flag routine that few people care about.

    My wife writes almost exclusively in cursive though. And when we write each other notes or cards, we both basically accept that neither will ever know what the other person is trying to tell us. We get the gist, and embarrassed by our mutual illiteracy, we never ask for clarification.

    1. That story is both endearing and hilarious – I suppose love does conquer all (including penmanship.)

      And that is a brilliant way of describing printing. I dig dig dig it. Also: “With pen in hand and paper as my foe, I am d’Artagnan facing off against Rochefort. Cursive makes me feel like I am in the color guard performing a flag routine that few people care about” made me snort. SNORT. Fracking hilarious.

      1. Ha thanks. As I was writing the fencing analogy, I had the feeling it was good.

        In defense of your lost art argument though; my handwriting, print or otherwise, is seriously illegible to nearly everyone (including myself much of the time). I handwrite most of my short stories which is why I haven’t posted a lot of fiction lately (or anything…).

  2. No way! You have pointed out everything I believe (and try to get others to believe) about cursive and writing by hand! I’m with you 100% girl. And maybe someday you and I can sit down and complain – er, discuss – the atrocity that has become of poor ol’ English.

    1. Excellent to know I have someone in my corner! I would so love to sit down and discuss these things with you :) Thanks for dropping by and for the fab note Ms. Rachel – I look forward to checking out your blog! x

  3. I can still write and cursive, and actually find it a lot easier than printing; though the continual movement smudges more with my left-handedness. It makes note taking so much faster! When I was taking the Praxis (standardized test for teacher certification) there was a section where you had to cursive write a statement and I was shocked at the number of people who raised their hands to ask what if you forget cursive? I don’t think school around here even teach it anymore…

    1. I think you’re right – it’s too bad! I think all kids should learn how to write in cursive. And YES! SO much faster for note taking! My sister is left-handed and she would always bemoan the left-hand smudge. But alas, tis the price one must pay for being demon spawn.

      (The best kind of spawn!)

      x

  4. Holy crap it’s been a looooong time. I’ve not had internet since the 19th of October- but who cares about that? I’m not here to cry about my problems.

    I love this post- I’ve always written letters to people and I value hand writing for its personality and character. I usually handwrite things before I type them up too; I know many would see this as being pointless, but I just find it far more natural than button tapping.

    I recently wrote a 60 page letter to an American friend and I got all sorts of writing cramps and aches, but when I flicked through it just before sending, I thought about how human it was. It was from me, and even if it didn’t have a signature at the end (which it did) it would be far more meaningful to the recipient than some hard, sterile font.

    I’ve checked my emails and no joke, about 40 percent of what’s there is notifications of posts you’ve made! I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Hope you’re doing well. Cheers!

    1. Lol! Well, happy reading I suppose?

      That’s quite a time without the internet, I don’t think I could ever last that long (is this sad? I don’t know anymore…)

      Sixty pages is huge! Yowza, I can only imagine how happy your friend was to receive just an opus. Very cool! x

  5. Oh my gosh, I love your handwriting. Beautiful! This makes me wish my own cursive looked a little better. And all the memories you have wrapped up in it too? So cool!
    As soon as I mastered cursive as an 8 year old, my ex-military father immediatley went on to teach me block print and I’ve been doing that ever since. Only when I bust out the old Cyrillic these days do I get taken back to days of flowing script but it’s always good nostalgia. :)
    Very fun idea for a post, by the way.
    Big hugs!

    1. Thanks sweets! You make my heart smile :)

      I can totally picture your dad teaching the block printing, and can imagine how that would leave a lasting impression! Oooer, hand written Cyrillic is just the prettiest, no? I love it so, so much.

      Big hugs beautiful – a very happy Thursday to you. xx

  6. Definitely write absolutely EVERYTHING in cursive. Have to say, though, I’m jealous of your abilities with rs and ms. Capital Ms especially are my bane. I’m still on team y and s. Lovely post, as usual:)

  7. My handwriting still looks like it did in grade four. So whenever I do bust it out, it’s always up for a bit of mockery haha. I’m trying to make it more grown up and writing faster than I usually would helps with that. I love uppercase M’s, D’s and L’s – my mom’s L was the best so I copied hers too.

    Keep up the handwriting love! Cheers!

  8. LOVE THIS.

    We were taught cursive starting in 2nd grade, and had handwriting classes all the way through 6th. I was so freakin’ excited to learn to write like grown-ups, and I still use it today…actually, I use a mix of cursive, print, and scribbles that usually mean my mind is going faster than my hand.

    Not to mention how fun it was to sit and practice your signature during math class…mine is all swoopy, to this day! Great practice for when I’m famous. It’ll happen any day now. Aaany minute.

    Anyhow, I feel as though we should write letters…practice this dying art that, upon observance from others, will most certainly make us feel ten different kinds of smug. Which is ok by me.

    1. Are…are you me? Totally down the practicing your signature, we are sisters from another mister. I LOVE IT!

      Also, can we actually be pen pals? That sounds so, so wonderful! I will send you my address, and you can send me yours! x

      1. YES, let’s totally be pen pals. I have all this stationary that I buy because it’s nifty, and then never use. This is a must. Is there a WordPress way to send you private mail? Going to search now. Can’t wait!! xo

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