Put pen to paper, please.

I recently browsed onto this article at Time online by Claire Suddath about the dying art of handwriting. Claire Suddath writes that the take over of technology has caused schools to decrease the amount of good quality time teaching penmanship.

Learn to read, learn to keyboard, but don’t worry about learning to write a long letter. If you want to contact your Senator, just send an email. You don’t even need to master your own signature. Petitions are all online these days, too, and checks — archaic.

Still, with all the artists and writers in the world, handwriting must exist. Part of my writer-esque includes a life-long search for the perfect journal and the perfect pen. If I’m going to write out my worst insanity, I want it to look good on paper. And, I spend a significant amount of time analyzing calendars and mechanical pencils at the start of a new year, debating over the authority in a 0.7mm versus a 0.5mm pencil. I stare for hours at an aisle of sharpies in every color of the rainbow.

Writers and artists aren’t alone in their craft of handwriting. I can recognize an architect in a second from numbers and letters alone. My son received a birthday party invitation in the mail a few weeks ago. I expected childlike writing. But, when I opened it, I thought parent and architect. The numbers were drawn in one fluid movement and the “what, when and where” was spelled out in squared and angled capital letters. My hunch was confirmed when my son brought home his light saber party favor, made from a swim noodle, an exacto knife, and various colors of duct tape.

Even Claire Suddath acknowledges that handwriting is critical in certain professions. She mentions the thousands of deaths that occur because of doctors’ illegible writing on charts and scripts. I’m drawn to the fact that all doctors sign the same. No matter their name, the signature starts with a few rises and falls, then flatlines. Do they teach that in medical school?

“Handwriting” and “defunct” must never be in the same sentence. I pledge to write a “thinking of you” note to someone at least once a month. Maybe once a week. Because next thing you know, I’ll stumble onto an article about the demise of the US Postal Service.

I mean, I like evite invitations and e-cards. They’re cute. They keep the graphic artists in business. But, I look forward to the slam of the mail slot around 11am every day. My heart jumps when I see a small envelope, addressed to me, in my best friend’s or my dad’s handwriting. A little pen to paper can make my whole day.

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One response to “Put pen to paper, please.

  1. I like this post and I have often wondered the same thing – “is this the death of handwriting?” Even though I’m old-school, my handwriting died years ago. I’ve never had good handwriting – and it is even worse when it comes to my signature – people sometimes think I’m a doctor for that reason. Considering I had several years of “penmanship” in elementary school – I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like in the future.

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