Disappearing Ink: Thoughts On a Dying Art Form…

15 12 2009

“The bundles of paper are bound by brittle elastics, stuffed into broken-down shoeboxes and shoved under the bed.

Flowered notepaper displays the familiar swirls and curls of a childhood best friend who moved away. One glimpse and I am 12 again, ripping open envelopes and fretting over who has replaced me.

A teenage boy’s first declaration of love is hidden in a page of scrawl, the three brave words less daunting to put on paper than utter aloud.

My father’s quirky upright script is as distinctive as his blue eyes peering from a family photo. As a kid, finally managing to decipher it was as exhilarating as winning the 25-yard dash on track and field day.

There are a colleague’s reflections in fountain pen, so handsome they could have been written by a medieval scribe. Camp letters scribbled in haste by a son who couldn’t wait to get back to his canoe. Words that slump with the homesickness of a sister living half a world away.”

— Andrea Gordon


I read this article about “The Death of Handwriting” (excerpt above) earlier today and man, did it hit me like a ton of bricks! I know it sounds silly but I was actually fighting back tears as I was reading it. As a (hand)writer myself, losing this art is like losing a loved one. Growing up, handwriting was something I tried hard to master…yet something I always detested because it was forced upon us to learn in school. “Cursive?”, our class would moan, “…why learn it when printing is sooooo much easier”. It was hard and it was ugly. But as the years went on, we had no choice but to embrace it and I remember a time in junior high when my girlfriends and I would compare our handwriting with one another. “Ohhhh I like your ‘G’…let me see if I can copy it!” And so we would try to imitate each other…picking and choosing the letters and styles that we thought were ‘pretty’…each one of us trying to find our identity through penmanship. I remember distinctly, at one point, all of our writings actually looked oddly similar. Until those days of imitation stopped and comparing with one another was no longer a priority… Read the rest of this entry »