I used to have beautiful handwriting. I got gold stars and smiley faces from all of my teachers for my penmanship. In 5th grade, we learned calligraphy. With the special pens and all. Again, I received good marks. Then in high school I started to mix my upper and lowercase to make my handwriting "cool." I was never required to write in cursive, so now I can't remember how. My signature is just a bunch of sloppy scribbles that don't resemble letters. In fact, today at the fabric store the lady laughed when she saw me sign my receipt.
One day, Danny and I were in Ikea. I was on the hunt for those tiny pencils and some paper to write some names and numbers of products down so that when we got to the warehouse, we could find it. He looks at me with that look. "Why don't cha just use your iPhone? It has a notes thing, right?" Yes. And I have been hooked ever since.
One night as I was trying to fall asleep, I was thinking about how much I don't write anymore. You know, with a pencil and paper. My handwriting has gotten so bad, I can hardly even write a card for anyone without it falling apart after 3 sentences. It's pathetic. So I was thinking: (in my random-worry-about-stuff-that-does-not-matter-way) "will our kids ever even write in school? They will probably use computers and keyboards for everything by then. So what happens if when they grown up, and technology crashes, and we have to live in the center of the earth, and scratch messages to each other in the dirt to communicate with one another? Will they be able to do it? Will they know how to hold a pencil? Or will they be stuck not being able to communicate in one of the simplest forms- all due to technology spoiling them?" And on, and so forth, my imagination goes and goes...
So weeks later on our trip, as we were driving through the Shasta National Forest, my husband and I were chatting about living as nomads in an RV. Me with my sewing machine, and he with his laptop, working for ourselves as we roam the country. (can you imagine? haha!) So I told him my worries about kids that won't be able to write. Again, he gave me that look. He is not worried. He thinks A: it will never happen, and B: our kids would adapt just fine. Okay, okay. Whatever.
Then in Portland, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art. I read somewhere that going there was like going to the offices of Design*Sponge - tons of amazing little art ideas to use in your home and whatnot. Didn't really find that, but Danny did find this:
Test Your Penmanship
"If modern society were tested on penmanship skills, it would receive poor marks.
However, it simply cannot be blamed on technology advancement alone. Penmanship was already in steep decline when the computer arrived. One can see evidence of the shifting legibility of penmanship in the period of correspondence highlighted in this exhibition. It is a dying art."
A desk is set with lined paper, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, and examples of how to write the alphabet. There is also a stack of memo's, while you were out slips, artists notes, to do lists, etc. spanning many decades. Such fancy lettering- the kind I have only seen as text in computer programs. In the center of the desk is a stack of paper that guests of the museum have written on. I read through a dozen or so- amazing what people will write for all to see. And all ages- some had LOL's and OMG's, some had smiley faces. Some had school teacher writing- perfect cursive that is perfectly legible.
Your Mom. Yes, we have come so far. Hilarious though.
I wrote about my worries. Seeing as how I am so used to writing for all to see, well typing words for all to see, I am not afraid to actually write them down either. I won't lie. It wasn't pretty, it hurt, and I had to take 3 breaks. Pathetic.
I was inspired. I have had this tiny nagging notion that I should improve my handwriting for years- I bought a ton of lined paper and special pens. That are still in their packages. In a closet. Somewhere in my house. But baking and sewing have taken up all my time. But I don't need special pens. Just a pencil will do. I really am going to do it this time. I am going to practice.
The next exhibit was about letters and such. I wrote myself a letter. I hope it gets here soon. I love stationary- in fact, I collect it. I have had a drawer full of cute little packages of paper and envelopes, stickers and notes, begging to be opened and sent off. But I never write letters, my handwriting sucks, and I have nothing to say.
Actually, I think I do have things to say. As I practice my new handwriting, I am going to write letters. Snail mail, if you will. Short and sweet, so I won't sweat the hand cramps. I wrote the Loo-loo a letter while we were away. I decided to write really big so that she could read it all by herself. It was tough being away on a Tuesday- our day. So I told her what we did that day, and that I missed her, and that we could go and get a refilled on our next Tuesday together.
When the letter arrived, I got a text from my mom. "Lindsay loved her letter. She jumped up and down screaming." I am always so busy looking in every gift shop for the perfect present for her, and all I really need to do is write her a letter. Jumping up and down? Yes please.
My very favorite blog to read right now is Pacing the Panic Room. He had an idea a bit ago about having a care package exchange program. Read it here, and if someone indeed does do it, sign me up! Care packages need carefully handwritten notes. And I will be ready.
How about you? Wanna join me in this little challenge? Wanna be my penpal? Email me your info! jessica (at) ragamuffin-baby (dot com)
Lets give this dying art some new breath.