January 23 is National Handwriting Day
Keep Handwriting from Becoming a Lost Art!
This lens celebrates the ability for a human being to hold a writing implement in one hand and create beautiful symbols called letters and words on a flat surface, usually paper.
IT'S ABOUT TO BE A LOST ART!!!
The upcoming generation is no longer being taught cursive writing in public school. Text Messaging and Instant Messaging with "autofill" is on the verge of annihilating proper grammar, punctuation, spelling, and of course, penmanship. But for millennia, societies worldwide have prized penmanship as a status symbol. Calligraphers and Stenographers, Clerks and Congressmen prided themselves on "a fine hand." From China to England, from the Constitution to Invitations, good handwriting has represented culture, tact, care, patience, and beauty. Who doesn't love to receive a handwritten letter or a party invitation written in calligraphy?
January 23 is National Handwriting Day. So here's a lens to honor those who still wish to develop "a fine hand," no matter where in the world it's happening, or in what language, or with what object.
Recapture Your Own Handwriting With These Accessories!
Whether for business, calligraphy, or hand-written notes and letters, work done in script adds a touch of class and an homage to the past.
Jane Austen Manuscript
Jane Austen (one of my favorite authors) claims she had mediocre penmanship.
The woman had to hand-write every single word of every single novel, play, poem and creative work she ever composed. In the course of her short life, she completed 38 works and started 2 others, including 6 full-length novels and a short novella.
And still, her handwriting was better than most of ours today!
The Need for Penmanship to Be Taught in Public Schools
I was appalled when I learned that our public school systems were removing script writing (also known as cursive or long hand) from the curriculum. It worries me so much that future generations will not have this skill. In the technology and information ages, I understand how easy it is to default to the argument, "With modern technology, we don't need to know how to write by hand anymore. Pretty soon, we won't even have to type anything. Eventually, we won't even have to say anything!" These statements may be true, but are they to our long-term advantage as a people? Here are some of my concerns, both in the present and the future.
1) Losing the skill of cursive writing is presently creating a communication gap between adults who write longhand and their grandchildren who can't read it. Getting letters, cards, or notes in the mail now need to be translated by a parent or teacher.
2) Cursive writing is a more controlled method of writing than quick or short hand; to learn it requires the development of fine motor skills that are missing in other writing or typing methods. These skills include eye-hand coordination, muscle memory, grip, and control.
3) A few generations from now, without the ability to write in cursive, our future historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and other social scientists will have increasing trouble in deciphering our past and present records, legal documents, personal letters, manuscripts, and other hand-written documents. There will be an increase in inaccuracies and disagreements about interpretation. It is the same phenomenon already experienced by biblical archaeologists and Bible interpreters who pore over ancient manuscripts of dead languages. Not having good reference material makes translation and interpretation work very challenging.
4) Cursive has historically been associated with elegance. There is nothing elegant about texting, 140 character Tweets, or emoticons.
5) Long hand is the language of signatures. Our future progeny will have a diminished capacity for creating unique personal signatures, which is one of the first things students of cursive get excited about developing. How many of us worked for a long time to develop a grown-up looking cursive "proper" signature to use when signing our homework, notes, folders, textbooks, or legal documents? It was fun!
So What's Your Response? - (Based on the list above)
What Is the Worst Thing About Losing Cursive?See results without voting
My (Horrible) Handwriting
Here are samples of my handwriting using my favorite GIANT pen, both cursive and print. It's okay...you can laugh.
Handwriting of the Constitution
Our constitution was drafted in gorgeous script.
YouTube Writing Tutorials
YouTube videos about Calligraphy and Penmanship.
How-To Links Online
Online resources for developing good handwriting skills. Essential tools for homeschooling parents, tutors, classroom teachers, and professionals assisting students with learning disabilities.
Handwriting Books and Tools - on AMAZON.COM
Resources to help learn and practice good handwriting.
Chinese Calligrapher Prodigy
Calligraphy is from the Greek words kallos (beauty) and graphe (writing). Chinese calligraphy is a style of beauty writing composed of energy in motion, rhythm, visual aesthetic, contrast, patience, accuracy, artistry and fluidity. It is difficult to master in all its many forms and nuances, and is widely considered as much a spiritual practice as it is an artistic one.
Ye Genyou demonstrating amazing calligraphy skills in this photograph. Copy and paste this URL into your browser to read about this prodigy. http://www.chinese-tools.com/china/crazy/2008-09-2...
So do you have a favorite pen or stylus? Do you still write in long hand? I do! I find that I actually write faster when I write in cursive than any other way.
Please leave a note and let me know you were here.
Last updated on January 22, 2014
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