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Green Jay

Handwriting - a lost art?

Philip Hensher has written a book about this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2...missing-ink-philip-hensher-review


I know people here feel strongly about the physical nature of their reading matter, but what about handwriting? I hardly do any handwriting these days and it has certainly deteriorated in clarity. Mostly I type. I send emails, not letters, and almost all work stuff has to be done on the keyboard as they don't want handwritten records and communications, except the odd post-it note. What about anyone else? do you still write by hand at all, and what?
TheRejectAmidHair

It has been a long time since I wrote anything by hand other than short notes. It's a shame, really - although I guess only those who have worked on their handwriting will miss it going out of fashion.
chris-l

I hardly write anything these days beyond shopping lists, birthday greetings and addresses on envelopes. As I never had particularly attractive handwriting, this is no great loss to the world and as my fingers are becoming increasingly stiff, it is something of a relief to me that I don't have to grip a pen for more than the odd few minutes.

I can't say that it bothers me unduly that little of the correspondence I receive is handwritten, although I would be upset if things like greetings cards did not carry the sender's own writing.
MikeAlx

I always struggled with handwriting and these days I seldom write. When I do it's in an illegible scrawl. I can type as fast as 100 wpm in short bursts though, so write or type is a no-brainier for me!
Castorboy

Like chris my writing is confined to greetings cards and shopping lists so consequently it has ended up in a scrawl. And yet my other half who doesn't write as much as I do has retained a legible hand. Maybe I need to take more time over anything hand written because it literally shows a personal and genuine touch on those cards.
Apple

I'm with Mike on this one, I can type faster than I can write, approx 70 wpm - It really does seem like handwriting is a dying artform and many people nowadays don't even do it - its a shame though as everyone says I have lovely handwriting when I do write something, I've never really thought about it myself but at work when I have had to fill in questionaires and stuff I've always had comments on my handwriting.

I can also do calligraphy, I taught myself to do it years ago and bought myself a cheap calligraphy set, I very rarely do that nowadays though either.
Mikeharvey

Years ago I taught myself Italic handwriting and it used to be admired. It's now sadly deteriorated, but elements can still be seen if I'm careful.
Marita

Greeting cards and shopping lists for me as well. If I write fast I have doctorís handwriting i.e. totally illegible even for me. My husband says itís as if a spider with a broken leg has crawled across the page. When I type I can keep up with my thoughts and itís legible.
I did some calligraphy as well once upon a time, but havenít done that in years now.
Green Jay

Marita wrote:
If I write fast I have doctorís handwriting i.e. totally illegible even for me. My husband says itís as if a spider with a broken leg has crawled across the page. When I type I can keep up with my thoughts and itís legible.


Me too!

And Prince Charles, since those letters of his we're not allowed to see are known as the Black Spider Letters...

I think it is sad that this is a declining art (skill) though, as I do think we all need skills which do not rely on technology and electric power to be used at all. I wonder how children and teens now do enough handwriting to keep up the skill? I like seeing how different people's handwriting looks and how it reflects their personality - though often it's partly the era they were educated in. My husband's writing is rather fluid and elegant - quite unexpected! - and I try to get him to write the cards these days as even when I'm trying my writing is horrible. He does do a lot more handwriting in his job than me, but then he is much slower at typing. seeing him dither around on a keyboard drives me nuts!   Very Happy
Chibiabos83

Green Jay

That's lovely - very readable! I specially like "things". Very balanced and elegant. I expect you'll be telling me that's you to a T. Laughing
Joe McWilliams

I never could write worth a damn and now it's even worse. I do, however, make a living at it; that is, taking notes and typing them up later. It's very often the case that I can't read what I've written. Yet somehow I've managed all these years.

I used to so enjoy writing letters. Now I can barely rouse myself to type one.
Chibiabos83

Green Jay wrote:
That's lovely - very readable! I specially like "things". Very balanced and elegant. I expect you'll be telling me that's you to a T. Laughing

It's normally fairly scruffy (like me), but I suspect it's easier to write nicely in pencil, for me at any rate.
Chibiabos83

In three-hour exams at university I remember my hand aching terribly. I dare say 'twas ever thus, but probably more so now because we don't write so often. Even in lectures students get their laptops out. My last undergraduate exam was in 2005, and I would swear that between then and my postgrad one in 2010 it had got worse for me. Maybe one day handwritten exams will be phased out, and candidates will be provided with an internet-disabled PC and a pair of earplugs at the door of the examination room.
chris-l

There can be a darker side to handwritten communications. My sister-in-law always had beautiful handwriting. Last year, when she was gravely ill, I shed tears when my birthday card arrived, and the writing inside, although recognisably still hers, was shaky and spidery. It was only then that I fully realised how sick she was, but at least it meant I was warned and was able to spend some time with her before she died a month later. Nothing else brought home the gravity of the situation as clearly as the deterioration in her writing.
We communicate more than perhaps we know when we put pen to paper.
Desperate Housewife

Lovely handwriting Gareth! Now that I am studying again, I find that I need to write things down in order to be able to process and remember them. Somehow it seems to help me to absorb the information. I am a visual learner and it may also be a sign of my age, because students who are younger than me seem to be able to do all their work electronically. I love to do a bit of calligraphy too.
Gino

my father was a shipping clerk who did elegant handwriting in the course of his work †he constantly bullied me about my clumsy writing.
Now I have no problems and type virtually everything and have a spell checker to hand and begin to enjoy writing
Desperate Housewife

Gino, long time no see - I remember a dashing black and white photo of you in uniform from before!

Chris, that's sad. I had a similar experience when an elderly friend of mine sent a Christmas card which said something about the fact that she could no longer write cards but hoped we would still be able to send them to her. However, although we send cards to her and her husband, I can't be sure if she is still alive and we have had no news, so its a bit difficult.
Apple

Lovely handwriting Chib!  What a fab idea perhaps we should all post a sample of our handwriting and we can see if it is a bad as some of us are saying or in my case people are just being polite about it!  Wink
Gino

Desperate housewife the name rings a bell, were you the lady who asked me if I wanted a Phalacrocorax aristotelis and there was some discussion as to the best way to cook it and what wine we should have with it.
Chibiabos83

In my experience, wine comes first, Phalacrocorax aristotelis later.
Desperate Housewife

Hello Gino, no, unfortunately that wasn't me..... but it sounds interesting none the less. Was it pleasing?
Evie

Gino, that's the best post I've read in ages.   Very Happy

Pan Macmillan, to return to the thread, have just run a competition where people could submit samples of their handwriting and the winners' (not sure how many) writing will be made into a font.  Fun.
Gino

DH

I was not actually able to partake but the contemplation was enjoyable

Evie

That was in the old days when we had regular correspondence from "Peter" the would be rival to †the Marquis de Sade

I will certainly submit a handwriting  sample but it will be rather like that of Guy Fawkes after what our American allies refer to as enhanced interrogation
Apple

Ok don't laugh but here is an example of my handwriting, as I said people say it is nice, but I can't see where to be honest, I also have a calligraphy sample, now please bear in mind I am incredibly rusty, I haven't done any calligraphy for about 18/20 years and I have lost all my guide sheets which make the writing straight and in proportion, so this was done completely freehand and its a pen which hasn't been used for such a long while there were inevitably a few splodges! †Embarassed



Gino

Sorry can't workout how to add pictures ![img]
[/img]
I was trying to send a .tif with system 8 now I have sent a .jpg with system 7 no problem.
Desperate Housewife

This is fascinating - well done Apple. I think it may be a technical challenge too far for me to scan, upload and post a sample of my handwriting, but I will try later.
Desperate Housewife

[/img]




Hooray, I have overcome my technophobia!
Chibiabos83

This is brilliant - great idea, Apple! Both examples of calligraphy are lovely, and all your handwriting has lots of character and individuality. I'd love to be able to form certain letters as Gino does, but I haven't been trained properly. I shouldn't think people learn handwriting much nowadays. I learned how to form the individual letters, and later on how to join them up, and that was about it. Maybe it's because I didn't learn a particular style that my own handwriting is very changeable. I have at least three radically different r's that vary according to my mood and writing implement, and I have found that when writing in French I am more inclined to adopt a French handwriting style, with more loops than I'd usually use.
Apple

It wasn't my idea, it was yours if anything Chib, when you posted your handwriting and I just pinched it and ran with it!

Desperate Housewife - That calligraphy is beautiful, thats how mine used to look about 20 years ago but now I am severely rusty and I'm almost ashamed to have mine on the same thread as yours!

I'd love to know what some handwriting experts would make of our samples and what our handwriting is to say about us, because how we write is supposed so say a lot about our characters.

I was never officially taught handwriting, we were taught how to form letters and then we were left to get on with it and mine just evolved as I grew older, to what I have now.
Desperate Housewife

Thanks, Apple - my calligraphy sample is from 21 years ago.
Evie

Wonderful samples - thanks, everyone!  I love the fact that everyone's writing is different - in the States and in France, everyone seems to write the same!  We were taught how to form letters, and I remember being made to do pages of the same letter, in proportion to the lined paper.  I loved it, used to spend hours at home just practising writing, and got calligraphy books out of the library.  My handwriting has definitely suffered now that I don't use it so much, but is presentable if the paper and the writing implement are good quality!

Like Chib, I love writing in pencil - again, always have.  I even love the sound the pencil makes on the paper.  I always have a pot full of sharpened pencils on my desk.

I also have two fountain pens - one is an 'everyday' Parker that only takes cartridges, but is still nice, the other is a slightly posher Waterman that was part of my leaving present (chosen by me) when I left my job at Bristol University library, and that one has a removable ink barrel.  

Just as well - very sadly, I went to Smith's today, and they no longer sell bottles of ink...hopefully it's just because it's a small branch, presumably Parker still make bottles of blue-black Quink!  Must stock up when I see some...
Apple

Not many places sell that Quink any more Evie, you are probably looking at a large W H Smith or a specialist stationers I have a feeling Staples still sell it we have a massive superstore one of those quite close to us, also larger branches of Wilkinsons sell them still - if you have one of those near you, and probably you would still be able to get some off the internet.

I went through a fountain pen stage, around the same time I was doing my calligraphy regularly, but nowadays its a chewed up ballpoint biro that I use -  that is when I can find the bloody thing, pens disappear in our house, anything vaguely reasonable just vanishes never to be seen again.
MikeAlx

Yep, I wasn't exaggerating. This is why I type!

Gino

I am no expert in OCR but this looks like a good test piece
Evie

Thanks Apple - I am sure I can get more ink, but in the light of discussions about the demise of handwriting, just seemed a sign of the times.
Mikeharvey

TheRejectAmidHair



If I am out of practice writing in English, I can't remember the last time I wrote in Bengali. I actually found those few lines quite hard to write, and it looks embarrassingly like a childish scrawl.
Green Jay

Lovely to see all these - what fun! But I can't scan anything in.
Apple, I love your roudn handwriting, it is just like my friend's and I was always very jealous of hers; even though we were taught together at school mine did not resemble hers at all after a few years scrawling away.

Mike Alex, that is one of my favourite speeches from Shakespeare.
Apple

TheRejectAmidHair wrote:


If I am out of practice writing in English, I can't remember the last time I wrote in Bengali. I actually found those few lines quite hard to write, and it looks embarrassingly like a childish scrawl.


Well not being familiar with Bengali it looks fine to me, and I have to say your handwriting is very neat.  

I love looking at all the samples, everyones writing is so different and gives and if analysts are to be believed gives us an insight into different personalities!
MikeAlx

I'm impressed you could decipher it, Green Jay. Sometimes I struggle myself! Not sure why that speech popped into my head, but lest it should seem too highbrow, it did come to me in the voice of Withnail. Wink
Apple

Yours was very easy to decifer Mike, I have read much much worse than that in my time!
Mikeharvey

Himadri, was that a quote from Hopkins?
TheRejectAmidHair

It couldn't really be anyone else, could it? I had the Poems of Hopkins next to me, and when I opened it, these lines were the first I saw. They're from "The Wreck of the Deutschland".

Your quote is from "Marmion", isn't it? I've seen your fluent handwriting before, of course.

The Bengali passage is from "Shyama", Tagore's reselling of a traditional Buddhist tale. (He set the whole thing to music as well.) Without going into the plot details, the young man Uttiya is doing a Sidney Carton, and sacrificing himself to save the life of the man whom Shyama loves. Very roughly translated (the syntax is too knotty to allow for a literal translation), it goes like this:

He whom you love, whom you would save
Will call in your debt, my life -
Within your breast he and I will be bound for ever,
Tied by knots of death:
How would you shift me then?

The rest of the drama indeed turns on her inability to shift him.

Anyway - back to the handwriting. It's been fascinating seeing them all. Any more samples?
Evie

Have to say, I think yours is the most surprising so far, Himadri!  Interesting.  Will scan something of mine at some point, but much more interested in looking at other people's!  I've always loved seeing people's handwriting.
Joe McWilliams



I had to go back to school to figure out how to post an image here. Won't be surprised at all if it didn't work. If it did, here's my handwriting.
TheRejectAmidHair

It's from the opening of Master and Commander, isn't it? (I didn't google it - honest!)
Joe McWilliams

You have it! A glass of wine with you, sir.

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