Monday, October 1, 2012

The writing on the wall (or the paper)

I wrote about this to dear Yum, so I apologize for her having to read this twice. As I made a grocery list the other day, I had the funny thought pop into my head that I like the look of my handwriting. I like how I make my As and that my Ss have a slight upward line with the S at the end of a word, making that cursive loop. I thought about how handwriting marks a person almost as intimately as a fingerprint--one person's handwriting may look like another's, but it's individual to that person. Heck, people study handwriting to see others' tendencies and personality traits. Do your letters slant forward or backward? Do your Gs and Ys go straight down, or do they loop? Is the loop closed or open? Do you write in cursive, print, or a mixture of the two? How close together do you make your letters? You know what I mean. I had a third grade teacher who had the most perfect, round, exact hand-writing--Mrs. McGennis. T and I both had her as a teacher, and we attended her retirement party a few years ago. Within a week, a letter arrived in the mail; I didn't even have to look at the return address. She'd written us, thanking us for coming. We kept the letter, partially because of the sweet gesture, and partly because of that handwriting. Anyone who ever had her in 37 years of teaching would know it.

This is also why so many different fonts exist to try--we try to maintain that individuality somehow, hoping that we don't all have to conform to Times New Roman, Arial, or Verdana. Has anyone noticed the handwriting fonts out there, too? They have lots of cursive and ones that sort of look like similar, but it's still someone else's version of what's mine. And they don't always work with every site and every person, so the attempt at creativity in writing sometimes gets roadblocked, and we're forced to use what's available. I also wonder what will happen to our fine motor skills if we start typing everything. This veers dangerously into my rant on how we have too many screens in our lives--TV, laptop, smartphone, Kindle--but I just want to make sure that J learns how to write his name and wield a pen to make his mark, as it were. It goes to nostalgia, too--100 years from now, will my grandkids look at my e-mails? My blog posts? My writing says a lot about who I am and how I think, but I don't see it the same way as looking at actual writing--it seems far more personal. It just urges me to keep using that muscle at the bottom of my right index finger, nestled up next to my thumb joint. Keep my individuality a bit as the typeface tries to pigeonhole me.

P.S. Don't think I don't appreciate the irony that I typed this whole post. ;-) However, in its original form, I did hand-write it, so there.

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