After years of typing almost everything I write on a computer and only ever really using a pen for signatures or scribbling comments on post-it notes, my handwriting has degenerated to the point that it makes a 5 year old look literate.
My handwriting has degenerated to an ALL CAPS type of writing which is legible if ungainly – and any attempt at cursive script looks like a spider on cocaine wandered over the sheet.
It’s actually annoying as when I was young, I was taught to write properly and used to write not just for school work, but also for pleasure as I had pen-pals when traveling around the world. Most days I would sit down to write a letter, using plain paper with a lined sheet underneath for guidance and a fountain pen which was regularly filled with a bottle of Quink sitting on the desk.
Indeed, as a teenager my definition of youthful rebellion was switching from a fountain pen to a cartridge pen. Shocking stuff!
Anyhow, in my last job I would often have to sit in meetings and take notes, and it somewhat embarrassed me to see my scribbles on the notepad, especially if someone sitting next to me was writing the most exquisite script.
I have wanted to do something about this for some time and wasn’t really sure how to go about it – after all I can’t go back to school and there didn’t seem to be any adult education classes which focused on handwriting skills alone – they all seemed aimed at people who couldn’t read or write at all – and I can write, albeit on a computer.
Joys though – when a few weeks ago I noticed in a local stationary store that there are home education packs, and some of them are aimed at children learning to write – so I picked up a pack. Getting home, I was somewhat disappointed to see that inside this large and fairly expensive box was just a short booklet and a few pens, so I still had to go out and buy a notepad to write on.
Today, I sat down at the desk and took my first lesson.
I should point out that I also did research online for tutorials and found one which was semi-helpful but mostly in teaching me how to hold a pen properly again. After years of using a ballpoint pen to fill in bank forms which require pressure to push through triplicate forms, I have ended up always using too much pressure when writing and just a couple of sentences can exhaust my hand. A side effect is that I also hold a pen incorrectly which also tends to tire the wrist muscles. That is something else I am trying to unlearn.
So, on to the first lesson this afternoon, and I have filled in several pages of copying out individual letters and a few short words which I repeat many times over several lines – and I can see that I have a long way to go before I can claim to have decent handwriting again. That said, the first day has not been a total disappointment and I am pleasantly surprised that some of what I have written isn’t a complete mess.
That is encouraging, and I aim to spend maybe half an hour each evening rerunning each lesson until I am ready to move on to the next one.
It would be nice to think that my Christmas card messages will be written by hand with a decent pen and be more than a mere greeting, but a few well presented sentences.