I have always hated my manual writing. Both my cursive and my printing suck (my writing sucks in many ways, but it is especially noticeable on the visual level). I do take pen to paper now and again when taking notes or writing up the first draft of some writing opus. But I usually very quickly switch to electronic writing whenever possible. Cursive Penmanship makes me curse…But not as much as those who have to read my handwriting.
In school, I’m sure it often dinged me a few points on any written assignment. I suspect my hatred of handwriting came about because I was one of those people who should write with their Left hand but was prematurely converted to a Righty.
But therein lies the problem with handwriting: No two people do it the same way. Some people have lovely penmanship, their todo lists belong in the Smithsonian. Others have crappy writing as if they are on an Optometrist’s payroll. Then there are people whose writing cannot be discerned at all, see doctors.
Luckily I was born in the Era of Word Processors with computers putting typewriters out of a job. In college, I was able to type out many of the letters I wrote to friends in the computer lab. I still had to print them and snail mail like a caveman but it was a start. I was actually too ahead of my time as friends lamented that I used the same template for all my letters.
Cursive Writing had its function once upon a time. Being able to write legibly and clearly so that other people could easily read your handwriting was a necessary skill, at for those who could read and write. But that time has passed. cursive writing came about because in the early history of our species we didn’t have iPhones! No one writes in hieroglyphics or Sanskrit anymore and humankind seems to be muddling along okay.
People lament that penmanship and calligraphy are becoming lost arts. So the fuck what? We have machines to do this stuff for us now.
In researching this post I read all the internet about cursive writing so you don’t have to and the arguments for it can be summed up as:
- Good penmanship helps to teach kids discipline and develop the fine motor skills needed for other tasks in life;
- Being able to sign important documents with a unique signature to prove it was YOU that signed them;
- How are we going to be able to read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence?
I’m sure we can find other ways to teach kids motor skills and it certainly doesn’t seem like anyone is reading The Constitution lately amirite? And when it comes to my signature, not only is it never the same way twice but I usually half-ass it and write a squiggle for most of it.
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