How’s your handwriting? That is, if you’re not laughing by now…I mean, who writes anything by hand any more? Personally, I wish I never had to, because my handwriting is horrendous, worse than a doctor’s. I suffered early childhood trauma, well, girlhood trauma if you want to pick nits, by failing handwriting when I was in third grade.
My teacher, Mrs. Van Beuren, the sort of frightening woman with no neck I would remember the rest of my life even if she hadn’t given me an ‘F’ in handwriting, thought I was making a poor showing and thought that giving me a failing grade on my report card would make me try harder to master a lovely, flowing, flowery, effortless (for other girls) cursive script.
Except that an ‘F’ only succeeded in making me abandon cursive writing entirely and try instead to master the geometry of print. So I print, using long and short lines, dots, crosses, dashes, semi-circles, L-shapes, T-shapes, anything except the rounded curves of cursive.
The problem is that I write so fast my printing is also illegible.
Ah, but at a play all I have to do is show up and listen to the words.
How cruel. Giving a girl an ‘F’ for handwriting.
I could write that.
If I had to…
October 25, 2016 at 12:12 pm
I’m relieved that my handwriting actually seems to belong to someone who seems strong and confident. I will now aspire to become that person.
Hilarious reply by Julia Cho!! 😀
October 25, 2016 at 12:19 pm
My own handwriting is sometimes very neat and tidy, sometimes it’s such a mess I myself can’t read it.
When I was a kid, I wouldn’t recognise my own exercise books from the previous school year, because this year I was slanting forward and looping, the previous it was all upright and ridged, the next it was backwards and printed. At least as an adult it’s sort of settled into two consistent ones (neat & messy).
October 25, 2016 at 12:28 pm
Giselle Minoli I write almost everything in cursive and though it is legible but not pretty if I write in print its even worse. Do schools even teach handwriting anymore ? And couldn’t it be assumed that many playwrights put their words to paper on a typewriter or word processor but that’s likely picking nits.
On a unrelated topic but one I think dear to you I think you might not have seen it because I know you are overwhelmed with notifications so my apologies but commenting here is the only way to let you know about it – yesterday I notified you of a article from the website http://www.mymodernmet.com about women voting for Hilary who were born before women had the right to vote with the tag #iwaited96years – I thought of you when I saw it. Again my apologies for going off topic of this post
October 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm
October 25, 2016 at 12:36 pm
I print also. I could never really get the hang of cursive writing and felt that it slowed me down.
October 25, 2016 at 12:38 pm
I have lovely handwriting! I don’t write by hand as much as I used to, but I still do it.
stuart richman , schools do still teach handwriting; my nephew is learning cursive.
On the subject of voting, my grandmother (an immigrant, who was also pregnant at the time), was turned away the first time she tried to vote. Somehow, she went and found Mayor La Guardia and he personally escorted her to the polls.
October 25, 2016 at 12:45 pm
Jodi Kaplan thank you for the information about the schools, not having any young relatives I wouldn’t have had any way of knowing that. And kudos to Mayor LaGuardia for helping your grandmother be able to vote.
I have fond memories of seeing the 1962 production of the Broadway musical about him which won a Tony award and nicely comes back to the topic of plays
October 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm
I had the misfortune of attending school at a time when there was an experiment to teach a kind of fake cursive. It was a hideous mistake, and as a result I’ve never been able to do any more than print (badly). I don’t even have a proper signature — I just print my name!
October 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm
My handwriting is totally dependant on my mood, and how rushed I am. Sometimes I print, sometimes I scrawl, sometimes it looks just like my mother’s. On good days, it’s a lovely cursive, but mostly not.
Also, giving an F for handwriting I see as similar to why so many people have a fear of math. Early horrific memories.
October 25, 2016 at 1:49 pm
Handwriting is a physical act of communicating which increases memory retention of subject written about. And it’s so tactile. I so enjoy the feeling of it.
October 25, 2016 at 2:55 pm
I worked really hard to develop beautiful handwriting when I was in elementary school, partly because I was left-handed and rebellious about conforming to the stereotype, and partly because I was an odd kid who just enjoyed putting words on paper. My handwriting isn’t as good as it used to be, but I do still journal in cursive. I love the crispy, slightly wavy feel of a notebook page covered on both sides with lines of writing.
October 25, 2016 at 3:19 pm
My oldest daughter refers to my signature as the mistake at the bottom of the page. I never developed good quality cursive writing, and by the time I was 20 switched to printing also, all caps.
But I was always was fascinated by the writing of words as an art. When I was in my 40s, and had developed back problems that made it impossible to continue with pottery, I switched to calligraphy and sign painting; at which I continued to work for about 25 years. I know a number of excellent calligraphers who say their handwriting is bad to the point of being unintelligible.
October 25, 2016 at 4:14 pm
Daniela Huguet Taylor you elegant woman, why am I not at all surprised to learn that your handwriting is lovely? I hate you. Sort of. Not really. Not really at all…but you know what I mean. I hope. Actually, were I writing this you’d have no idea what you were reading. That’s how bad my handwriting is.
But as for your story of being a kid and figuring it all out I assume you were exercising your creativity. I mean…isn’t that what kids are supposed to be doing? And, as for the two things – neat and messy – yeah, sort of like my life. Or my kitchen. One or the other. But there is such a thing as messy neat. And neat messy. At least with handwriting! Is it the same whether you write in Spanish or English? Do tell!
October 25, 2016 at 4:19 pm
stuart richman as you should well know by now nothing is off topic on my threads…unless it’s unkind brutality…iffn’ you know what I mean. Yes…sorry I missed that post and happy you thought of me and I love that link about waiting 96 years and how awesome. And as with Daniela, I’m not surprised you write cursive. Must be the artist in you. Or something.
God Matthew Graybosch you Southpaws have it really tough. I mean that. I hear horror stories. I have a Russian friend who was forced to write with her right hand growing up in Russia. Can you imagine? I think the whole handwriting thing has become cruel, frankly, even though I get that, as you say, it would be nice to have someone actually take the time to help a kid. Why can’t you Southpaws write left to right? That would help, wouldn’t it? 😉
October 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm
I did mean right-to-left Matthew Graybosch. Sorry. You’re a writer…let’s make up an entirely new way to ‘see’ the English language. 😉
Jodi Kaplan I love that story about your grandmother. How, do tell, did she manage to ‘find’ Mayor La Guardia on voting day and get him to escort her to the polls. Honestly…you ought to write an essay about this and post it to Huff Post…or send it to the Times. I mean it!!!!! It sounds like a great story.
And I love/hate that you have lovely handwriting. And, sigh, I’m not surprised…
October 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm
Giselle Minoli thanks for your kind words and as it happens I’m a southpaw
October 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm
Ah, Bodhipaksa but what a fabulous name you have! I can’t imagine what ‘fake’ cursive is? Yesterday I had to fill out some godawful long application online and there was a place to create my own signature using my mouse. You can imagine how miserably I did. I’m sitting at my desk feeling like a complete failure and actually getting upset because I couldn’t do it. And I’m thinking, ‘OK…I’m an adult…why is this bothering me so much that I have the signature of a serial killer?’ Well, as I wrote above…early childhood trauma, so I completely empathize with you. I sort of hate to say that I am glad to have your good company in this trial of life, if you know what I mean!
Hi, Armida Evony I share your love of paper covered with handwritten words. Particularly parchment paper. In my case I will admit to being jealous of my mother’s absolutely beautiful script. She and my father wrote one another all the time when they were courting and whenever they were separated. I have all of the letter my father got from relatives in Italy and France. They are among my most cherished possessions. There is something so flat out emotional about taking the time to lay out such detail in a letter to someone. It’s an act of generosity unlike any other I can really name. Except perhaps cooking for friends. I do that exceptionally well. Perhaps making up for my pathetic handwriting.
I cannot journal because it literally is too difficult for me, so I worship my computer. And I love love love long emails. It’s a thing! You have such a beautiful name…it rather goes with beautiful handwriting…I don’t know…I’m free-associating!
October 25, 2016 at 4:52 pm
Giselle Minoli I have the feeling I write slower in Spanish, because I went to a British school all my school life, and so note taking and essay writing was all in English.
October 25, 2016 at 4:59 pm
October 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm
Ah Daniela Huguet Taylor that would make sense. But I am sure you speak Spanish lickety split. Do you have any idea how lucky you were to have become bilingual at such a young age? I learned Italian when I was an adult. Took me a long time to begin to ‘think’ in Italian…without having to translate in my head first. But…it wasn’t nearly as hard as trying to write in dreaded cursive!
October 25, 2016 at 5:08 pm
OMG are there THREE South Paws here? What are the odds of that? I love that I’m attracted to South Paws. What does that mean, I wonder?
Sheeesh Peter Lindelauf the image of your Dad being ‘caned by the Nuns’ is horrifying. Beautiful cursive script being beaten into a kid. There is something so way wrong about that. I’d say my own is a hybrid form of something or other, like your own.
October 25, 2016 at 5:09 pm
Giselle Minoli yes, indeed, in fact Spanish is my first oral language, even though it’s my second written one.
October 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm
Giselle Minoli I’m afraid I don’t know how grandma did it. I asked my mom recently and she didn’t know.
October 25, 2016 at 5:13 pm
Hi, Malcolm Schosha how absolutely mystifying that a calligrapher might have terrible handwriting. But I suppose I am not entirely surprised because what creative people tend to expressively creatively is not easily understood. As a jewelry designer my work is floral. Perhaps a psychologist would say I’m making up for the lack of beauty in my handwriting. As an interior designer, I favor streamlined, uber clean, almost sparse. The same psychologist might say it’s my need for tidiness…because my handwriting is so sloppy.
So it’s now up to you to psychoanalyze yourself and tell me what the similarities are between potting and calligraphy and sign painting…because surely connections can be made.
For me, when I was a little girl, having beautiful script was a sort of finishing touch for a girl. But I could never sit still. Still can’t really. My love/hate relationship with computers. I’d much rather be dancing, gardening, flying than sitting sitting sitting sitting sitting.
October 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm
Yes deny dekosta?
October 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm
You wrote: “…I could never sit still”
That sounds a lot like me.
I studied sculpture, particularly stone carving, in NYC and Florence. That did give me opportunity to move around a three dimensional work. However pretty soon I needed to support a family, and I switched to pottery…originally in Sesto Fiorentino which is a pottery center six miles south of Florence. Sitting at a potter’s wheel for hours every day did take some adjusting, but I loved the work and got good at it. It is possible to make the adjustment when you love the work. I am sure you experienced the same making jewellery, even though it required a lot of sitting in one place.
October 25, 2016 at 6:04 pm
Matthew Graybosch Yes, ‘twould appear. I seem to attract them. Although they usually have Blue Heads. If not, they show up as some sort of shield, or animal or stupid logo of some kind. Rarely a face, a human…whatever. Thank you for being on the lookout. I am still, all these years in, inclined to give someone a chance.
Malcolm Schosha that is quite a story. Do you speak Italian? Do I know the answer to that and have I forgotten? If so…apologies. This is off the subject but not really…did you read that fantastic article in the Times a few months back about The David…and the cracks in his ankles and how the whole thing could come crumbling down? The link is below…it’s really a great read:
But now onto your potting. I come from New Mexico, where potting and weaving and glass blowing are high art forms. It is something that I love. I still have vases and pots thrown by friends of my mother’s that she gave to me when I was in college. And I still have the very first pot I bought for myself – a blue pot with a lid, made by this wonderful potter named Rina Swentzell.
These things have great meaning to those who appreciate them. Vessels. For flowers, mementos…for art, for looking at, for niches in the wall. I love my collection and know that for a potter the making of pottery is a love affair.
Yes, the discipline of sitting can be mastered for some things. I can sit and meditate for hours. I can sit and work on a piece of jewelry for hours. I can sit and write on a computer for hours. But not handwriting.
Perhaps if my hand ‘worked’ better I could do it. Or perhaps if my brain slowed down I could do it.
But hands to me are meant to make things. Like pottery. And trying to write like someone thought I should write was not the same thing to me as making something. It was torture.
When was the last time you sat at a potting wheel?
October 25, 2016 at 6:08 pm
The fake cursive, Giselle Minoli, was just printing with a little uptick at the end that was supposed to mimic proper joined-up writing. But the was no attention paid to how letters were formed, and so I got into the habit of writing some of my letters right to left, which is inefficient and doesn’t lend to a cursive style.
And you have a prettier name than I have!
October 25, 2016 at 6:15 pm
My handwriting isn’t the prettiest, and I rarely write but I love to send handwritten cards and notes to my girlfriend. Some things just shouldn’t be printed.
October 25, 2016 at 8:06 pm
Ah, U-Ming Lee OF COURSE you print, too. There’s that wonderful U-M thing going on. A nice upside down curve, followed by a dash, all connected together with four charming straight lines, after which comes ‘ing Lee.’ And it looks so nice when printed, don’t you think?
Kathryn Marie it’s true what you say about rushing and mood and the way we write, what we write, how we write…and think and feel and everything else. Which is why I suspect there is such a thing as handwriting analysis, because so much comes dripping out of it, so much is revealed. A little scary though, eh? I know of a very powerful man who once had every prospective employee’s handwriting analyzed before hiring them.
And a fear of math…and singing! My math tutors believed anyone could understand and learn to love math…and that everyone could sing. I always feel sorry for someone who has been told they are tone deaf…or that they have no talent. What awful stuff to fill a kid’s head with.
October 25, 2016 at 11:10 pm
Actual tone deafness is very rare. I also believe anyone can learn anything. The 10,000 hour rule is popular (debunked) theory which has stated that also. It’s just that there’s more than just hours required. The science is a bit off.
October 25, 2016 at 11:40 pm
Yeah, the science is wayyyyyyyy off Kathryn Marie. I think people latch onto these theories either a) to boast about something, b) to keep someone else from attaining the impossible, c) to give people the impression they are experts at something.
In aviation…I know pilots who haven’t flown 10,000 hours in their entire careers…so…what does that mean?
Some people need to measure everything it seems… Kathryn Marie.
October 25, 2016 at 11:42 pm
Eve Aebi there is something about just doing and not thinking so much, eh? I find that I am better able to do that on a ‘puter. Once I get a pen in my hand I am so aware of how horrid my writing is I can’t think. I never feel that way in a kitchen, however…it relaxes me, but I do know some people are terrified of cooking.
Same thing happens (sometimes) in a plane when you are in a new place and have to talk on the radio to the Tower. You push the little button to tell them where you are and all of a sudden you sound like an idiot. Yes…hahaha!
Gijs van Dijk your gal does know she’s a lucky gal, doesn’t she? And, No, I won’t ask what’s in those notes that oughtn’t to be printed. ‘Cause I have manners. Sometimes. Just sayin’…
October 26, 2016 at 12:29 am
I think people latch onto these things because it simplifies a complex concept. I train people a lot, and it’s important for people to know it takes time to get good at something.
October 26, 2016 at 6:52 am
Giselle Minoli I don’t know if she is lucky; I’d like to think I’m the lucky one, but she does really like it when I do it. 🙂
October 26, 2016 at 2:29 pm
stuart richman and here’s one for you!:
What Hillary Clinton’s Historic Candidacy Means to This 102-Year-Old Woman:
October 26, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Giselle Minoli thanks for sharing this wonderful story
October 26, 2016 at 2:56 pm
That is a wonderful story!
October 26, 2016 at 3:00 pm
So…while we are counting how many Republican wives are secretly going to vote for HRC while ‘winking’ at their husbands that they are voting for DT…I’d love to know how many women, what, say…80 and above are going to vote for HRC. And I think there should be a special seating section at the Nomination for them… and I think they should all get to go to the Inaugural Ball. In horse-drawn carriages. And not have to be home before midnight. Halloween will be long over after all. 😉
October 26, 2016 at 4:21 pm
Giselle Minoli You wrote: “Why can’t you Southpaws write left to right?” That has been done occasionally. Leonardo da Vinci, who was left handed, wrote all of his famous notebooks in mirror writing.
Both my daughters are left handed. The older developed, on her own, a method of writing with the page rotated almost 90 degrees, so she is writing from top to bottom, rather like Chinese is written. It works well for her, and I encouraged my younger daughter to do the same.
Since I was a professional calligrapher for many years, I have given a lot of thought to how handwriting should be taught. At this time there is, in fact, some doubt if handwriting should be taught at all. Personally, I think the effort is worthwhile, even if the level of success is not impressive. Any effort to develop manual skills in children is valuable to them long term. For that matter there is no need for adults to give up either, and improving handwriting can be satisfying as long as expectations of perfection are understood as unhelpful.
This is a link (PDF) to a handwriting method developed by Gunnlaugur S.E. Briem, a well known Icelandic calligrapher and type designer. I think it is better than the Palmer Method I was taught, but failed to learn, in the 1950s. http://luc.devroye.org/Briem1985-IcelandicMethod.pdf
October 26, 2016 at 5:03 pm
As a “lefty” (sinister!), I NEVER did well in handwriting. My work was always smudged from my left hand dragging behind the pencil/pen and smudging the work.
These days, I mostly type. But when I write, I don’t care if it’s pretty.
October 27, 2016 at 5:55 pm
All Lefties (and Righties) allowed here Garritt VS, including the ‘sinister’ kind, as long as they behave themselves! How freeing not to care if your handwriting is pretty. I’m jealous. But perhaps there’s hope for me yet…in the not caring that my handwriting is horrendous department.
April 3, 2017 at 6:32 pm
It’s good style
September 13, 2017 at 5:02 pm
The Ideology of Greed
The famine enforcing capitalism,
Our enslavement to exploitative greed,
We sow the seeds of our destruction,
As millions starve and choke and bleed.
A selfish decadence blots our vision,
Children crying at night alone,
Global dominance the Western mission,
War-torn families forced from homes.
What of love and hope and beauty?
The ideals and values close to our hearts,
What are we creating for our future?
Burning all bridges here at the start.
Down with a system of decaying virtue,
Dead refugees by the thousands fleeing war,
Just images in the media that cannot hurt you,
When you glorify the rich you villainise the poor.
Bleak Life on Streets
What do you do when you have lost your home?
When you walk the streets at night alone,
When the cold wind cuts you to the bone,
When a life of hardship is all you’ve known.
Cut out of the system by benefit sanctions,
While the world is consumed by consumerist distractions,
Safe from all harm by superficial satisfactions,
When it’s about time somebody took some action.
It’s hard to imagine a life so bleak,
As a person who is forced to live on the streets,
With so many excluded how can society be complete,
When our freedom of speech is only freedom to compete.
With more people laid off through downsizing corporations,
No employment or career is guaranteed by the nation,
So it shall be that after a decade of ideological hesitation,
Thousands take to the streets in political demonstration.
©Alan Peter Garfoot (2017)
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