Sunday, 7 October 2012

Write On

"In all sorts of areas of our life, we enhance the quality of our lives by going for the slow option, the path which takes a little bit of effort. Sometimes, we don't spend an evening watching Kim Kardashian falling over on YouTube: we read a book. Sometimes, we don't just push a pre- prepared meal into the oven and take it out some time later. We chop and prepare vegetables; we follow a recipe, and we make dinner from scratch, with pleasure. We often do this because we love people, and think they are worthy of our effort from time to time. Sometimes we don't get in a car and get to where we have to go as soon as we possibly can. We open our front doors, and go for a walk in the spring sunshine and feel better for it.

Perhaps that is the way to get handwriting back into our lives – as something which is a pleasure, which is good for us, and which is human in ways not all communication systems manage to be. It will never again have the place in people's lives that it had in 1850. But it should, like good food or the capacity to take a walk, have some place in our lives from which it is not going to be dislodged. I want to know what people are like from their handwriting – friends, intimates, acquaintances, strangers, and people I can never and will never meet. I want everyone to maintain an intimate and unique connection with words and ink and paper and the movement of hand and arm. I want people to write, not on special occasions, but daily."

I love this article - an extract from Philip Hensher's book The Missing Ink: The lost art of handwriting (and why it still matters).

Do you like your handwriting?

Did you write anything today?


GreatSheElephant said...

I wrote 'toilet paper' on my shopping list.

LC said...

My penmanship is atrocious and I'm actually embarrassed to write anything by hand these days, so I try to avoid it.

I stopped writing anything more than my signature the day I left school and it's all been downhill since then.

Timorous Beastie said...

I write on the whiteboard when I teach, I write short notes to colleagues when I'm working, I write notes to myself on papers I've read or presentations I've seen and I write shopping lists for myself. Today I've annotated an article I'm using for teaching tomorrow and I've written a note that said "Timorous Beastie's Auntie Anne's gingerbread - please help yourself.

I think my handwriting is OK, but I don't think handwriting says anything in particular about us and I don't think the comparison with watching TV/reading a book or walking/driving really stands up because the end result, not just the process, differs. Handwriting is far less legible than typed text and thus no matter how enjoyable the process of writing might be, the text produced is less user-friendly than it would have been had it been typed.