Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More than just a pretty hand

Through a process I can no longer re-create, I found myself at this LifeHacker post about how we learn better when we write than when we type. Since this confirms my gut-level convictions, I appreciated it a great deal. The real payoff, though, came in its link to a Wall Street Journal article (“How Handwriting Boosts The Brain”) which in turn led to the Website of Educational Fontware, Inc.

The sub-heading on their site is “Cursive That Connects (TM)” which struck my fancy since I’d recently had a discussion about cursive writing with a friend who’s about fifteen years younger than I. She said that cursive had not been much emphasized when she was learning to write and that, in particular, she didn’t really know how to make one letter flow into another. That inspired me to take a look at some cursive samples (although nothing like the bounty of Educational Fontware’s site) and to rediscover the existence of the cursive capital “Q” that looks like a “2” and the lovely, graceful cursive capital “Z” - as well as the more mundane and rather odd capital “A” that looks like a paramecium but can be hooked up to whatever follows without lifting one’s pen.

My handwriting is atrocious, really verging on unreadable. The Wall Street Journal references and the Education Fontware samples inspired me to do something about it. So I ordered an inexpensive edition of The Palmer Method of Business Writing from Barnes & Noble. This is a re-issue of an early (1894) classic and apparently people’s eyesight was much better way back then because the print in this book is so tiny I almost can’t read it. How tiny is it? About this tiny.

So it looks like I’ll have to either spend a bit more on one of the other handwriting workbooks mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article or resign myself to lousy handwriting. Admiring the fonts at Educational Fontware inclines me toward the former but deep in my heart of hearts I wonder whether even the most expensive cursive workbook will give me the clear, lovely hand I long for.