Have you ever pondered your handwriting and tried to analyze it? Are there variations on its appearance at different times of day or when you’re under stress? Mine is smoother when I’m calm and more erratic after performing strenuous physical work. This is why I prefer waiting for an hour or so after heavy working before writing in my diary. This quirk came to mind yesterday, following some minor house redecorating chores then trying to write down a quick memo.
I remembered that regardless of the state of stress or relaxation, my signature is fairly consistent. It’s relatively easy to forge. The office manager at one of my former workplaces routinely forged my signature onto the weekly hourly time sheets that must be submitted so we could get paid. She mentioned this to me each time I’d forgotten to turn in a weekly report. We’d both chuckle about it because I couldn’t distinguish between my signature and her copy of my signature. I suppose a forensic handwriting handwriting expert could do so.
Although my signature is smooth, flowing, and maybe easy to replicate, my handwriting, in general, looks somewhat childish and artless. I used to use a block-printing style when writing memos, letters, and diary entries. However, a couple of years ago, I decided to revert back to cursive. Both my printing and cursive look awkward; but cursive is a much faster way to write. My cursive style is basically unchanged from its appearance during my high school years. This is mildly frustrating.
When using cursive in my default English language, I scrawl it quickly. When practicing Cyrillic cursive, I crawl slowly due to its personally relative unfamiliarity. Russian cursive is difficult to read, so I use hand printing when practicing language drills. My Cyrillic writing is quite primitive appearing.
In my opinion, it seems like our handwriting skills are suffering because of the prevalence of electronic devices. Tapping out emails, documents, and so forth is more efficient than handwriting or hand printing. Voice to text is handy and is a blessing for people with disabilities. Yet the keyboard’s ease is leading to the demise of personal handwriting.
A raft of simple skills are going down the same black hole. I used to be reasonably skilled at mentally calculating arithmetic problems. Using a calculator or calculator app has become a crutch that has diminished my math skills. The same goes for remembering my friends’ phone numbers. Caller lists have changed the need to memorize them. I do have a conventional Rolodex that contains names, addresses, and phone numbers hand-printed onto individual cards. It’s good to use one of those or keep an old-fashioned address book to physically write in names and numbers. Redundancy is a good thing.
Today, as I ponder a journal entry, I wish my handwriting was as smooth, flowing, and ascetically beautiful as the cursive some of my older relatives and friends have. My paternal grandmother was a schoolteacher with impeccable, English-style cursive skills. Her handwriting was nearly like calligraphy because she usually wrote with a fountain pen. The writing was pretty and it was easy to read. Evidently, fluid cursive is not an inherited trait.
With a lot of time and effort, my handwriting could probably improve. That’s a great suggestion, but I simply don’t have the time to devote to it. I guess handwriting isn’t a high enough priority.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes, the late filmmaker, visual artist, critic, playwright, and poet, Jean Cocteau. “Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.”