When was the last time you wrote something by hand? What was it?
Handwriting remains a part of how I think and edit. I have to see what I am writing when editing and that only happens with hard copy. I research with hand written notes and have a notebook beside my bed for thoughts that come in the night. I love the feel of paper as I craft my story upon its crisp surface, giving the paper with its own story, mine as well. I love the idea of a letter taking its time to go across the world and to the recipient. I wonder what it sees and if a small camera could be attached to show its journey. So much more interesting than an email. I used to have pen pals all over the world and wrote faithfully. It was personal and intimate, sharing a part of my life, in return for theirs.
Every night I hand write in my 5 year diary and it helps to see what the year before was like. Have things changed for the good or bad? Has my mood shifted? Who is in my life and who has left? What was special on which days? It helps when things have been hard to see that it wasn’t so last year or in a day or so. I usually write in capitals, it is neater and readable. When stressed I write in an uneven scrawl that simply annoys me. It is like the writing marches unevenly over the page with great determination but no real unified form.
The last thing I wrote by hand was Christmas cards (this week in fact). I wrote mine and my father’s, as his arthritis prevents his writing easily. I have the same writing style as his used to be, the block capital writing and sadly my fingers are heading the same way. However, I did not merely write mine, I also coloured them. I love adult colouring books and when I saw the Christmas Card set I could not resist. I am not much into drawing but I can colour like a Tasmanian Devil.
I think in this world of rapid communication, we have lost a sense of identity. Our individual writing style has been replaced by type written words. Of course, it does mean that if I am a serial killer it is harder to profile me by my handwriting. I am sure my typing looks the same as everyone else s, but how I word it remains the difference. I feel safer that they can trace my URL by nefarious means but not my address, in simply turning the envelope over and there it is: Sender.
Distance has a different meaning from when we used to mail. I can talk instantly to a friend in the US when I used to have to wait days for a return letter. The generation after me barely hand writes anything. They have computers or phones in school to record notes (I can not remember when I got my first computer but it was not in school). The excitement of writing your own card as a child, carefully crafting each word with great concentration, now it is a text and no one has time to wait for a laboriously written note.
I will always appreciate hand writing as a further expression of me, it can show my moods in how and what I write or if I write at all. It is a gift of my time and effort. It shows my interest in being a part of your life because of that effort. I simply love watching words form across the page.