Handwriting? Surely you jest...

CaptMurdock

Suspended
Original poster
Jan 2, 2009
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1,966
The Evildrome Boozerama
Today at the office I was addressing some holiday cards to be sent to various people on LawyerBoss' list. I had printed some mailing labels on the computer, but I decided that just printing labels and slapping them into the cards was a little too impersonal. So I decided to handwrite "From the attorney and staff..." etc etc. And then I had a shocking realization:

I had nearly forgotten how to handwrite!

At least, in the cursive style. I can still print, in "longhand" I think it's called. But the cursive style, known informally as "handwriting" is something I've not used for so long that I had to really concentrate: "How do you make an 'f' again?"

I seem to recall reading a few months ago in Time or Newsweek that handwriting, or penmanship, was becoming a lost art in the Digital Age. I believe it. As someone who was desperate to take up typing at the age of eleven, when home computers were a flight of fancy and the Internet was science fiction, I have to admit that I have let my penmanship atrophy almost to nothing. I rarely handwrite or handprint notes; I use the Journal function of Outlook to compose any notes about our clients (and the application helps me keep track of billable time as well.) LawyerBoss used to get upset at me about this, until I started using recycled paper in my printer.

Sometimes I wonder if we are becoming too dependent on machines. Mind you, I wonder this as I type on my iBook, listening to internet radio and surfing the web...

So, penmanship: good riddance or valuable skill that we should cultivate?
 

r.j.s

Moderator emeritus
Mar 7, 2007
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Texas
I still write notes, but I don't use formal handwriting. I use my own, it could be called cursive, but it looks a lot like Arabic - even though it is in English. There are only a few people capable of reading it.
 

VPrime

macrumors 68000
Dec 19, 2008
1,720
82
London Ontario
Same thing happened to me the other day, I tried to write something but I forgot how to do many of the letters... By the time I was done it looked like a first grade student wrote it :D
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,040
111
Canada, eh?
Funny you mention this today. I just came home from a Christmas party, and some of the little party games we played involved writing things down, for example being given a list of Christmas carols by their first letter, and trying to be the first team to write them out in full, e.g. "A I A M" --> "Away In A Manger".

So I'm zooming down the list, writing furiously as fast as I can whenever I think of an answer, and in the process realizing that I've become extremely sloppy! I would make a stroke to cross a T and miss the other half completely, or start writing random letters that weren't even part of the word... I think I was the only person who could read anything I had written. And it did occur to me that I write things out so rarely...

I do use printing, pretty much daily, as I write up little to-do lists or shopping lists. But cursive is something I haven't done in a long time...
 

Surely

Guest
Oct 27, 2007
15,043
8
Los Angeles, CA
I do not jest. Never. Ever.



I, too, find that I print when using a pen or pencil. I can still write, but for some reason, I prefer printing.
 

r.j.s

Moderator emeritus
Mar 7, 2007
14,926
35
Texas
I, too, find that I print when using a pen or pencil. I can still write, but for some reason, I prefer printing.
For me, printing and writing have become the same thing. I cannot print clearly without a great deal of effort, and I cannot write in "proper" cursive.
 

OutThere

macrumors 603
Dec 19, 2002
5,730
0
NYC
My generation (Gen Y?) never really learned 'handwriting'/cursive...we worked on it for a while in 3rd grade but then the school kind of gave up on it. I had trouble picking a dominant hand when I was a kid before my parents and teachers 'encouraged' me to use my right hand, which I think may have permanently ruined my penmanship. That and getting my own computer for Christmas when I was 11. I can type like ~90wpm but only make unintelligible scribbles on paper. It's all within the lines, looks neat and clean, you only run into trouble if you try to read it. :D

I do think that letter writing is something that we've lost to an extent, but it can be leveraged to great effect. All of my girlfriends have enjoyed getting handwritten letters from time to time. It's certainly a more romantic memento than, say, a stored text message. ;) Even if it's not written in cursive a well put together letter (on 100% cotton rag of course!) is something you can hold on to.
 

r.j.s

Moderator emeritus
Mar 7, 2007
14,926
35
Texas
I just realized I had a font made of my handwriting a few years ago ...

(You have to change the extension to .ttf)
 

Attachments

nick1516

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2008
564
0
The only cursive I know is my name, but they only taught us how to do it for about a week in third grade, so I would agree it is a dying art.
 

yetanotherdave

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2007
1,767
3
Bristol, England
I just realized I had a font made of my handwriting a few years ago ...

(You have to change the extension to .ttf)
Your uppercase handwriting looks scarily like mine. I have dysgraphia, a handwriting condition. Basically I fail at writing.
Less basically if I try and write more than a few sentances, my hand aches, I start misspelling words (even simple ones, despite knowing how to spell them) I miss out letters that I know should be there, get them in the wrong order.
If I write half a page of A4, it will be so illegible that I will have no idea what I just wrote if I try and read it back later.
This has been all my life, before I ever first touched a computer, it was always a massive issue at school.

Thank god for computers. I wouldn't be able to function properly in this world without them! So I failed my exams (all handwritted, very fustrating and painful experience), but now I have a doctors note, I can go back with a laptop and re-do it if I ever find it necessary.
I have one of those fonts too http://twitpic.com/k7obl that took about an hour of very carefully writing a letter at a time and practising.
 

r.j.s

Moderator emeritus
Mar 7, 2007
14,926
35
Texas
Your uppercase handwriting looks scarily like mine. I have dysgraphia, a handwriting condition. Basically I fail at writing.
Less basically if I try and write more than a few sentances, my hand aches, I start misspelling words (even simple ones, despite knowing how to spell them) I miss out letters that I know should be there, get them in the wrong order.
If I write half a page of A4, it will be so illegible that I will have no idea what I just wrote if I try and read it back later.
This has been all my life, before I ever first touched a computer, it was always a massive issue at school.
Fortunately, I don't have that problem. I can write page after page without problems. It does become more fluid, and those that can read it will start to have trouble, but I can still read it just fine, even months or years later.
 

David G.

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2007
1,082
395
Alaska
Cursive was by far my biggest bane when doing the SATs. I seriously must have lost at least 100 points on the writing portion because of the time I had to dedicate to thinking how to write in that style. I certainly don't remember THAT on the PSATs.:mad:

Edit to add: Good thing my school (and many others) doesn't look at the writing section when looking at admission.
 

steve2112

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2009
3,023
6
East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
My writing is a mix between cursive and long hand. :)
I tend to do that, as well. I did fine with cursive in high school, until I took drafting. In good old fashioned hand drafting, you always used block lettering print to label things, so I got in a habit of doing that. Then I started mixing the two, which made for some weird handwriting. I tend to print almost everything now, which is good since my cursive tends to look like an EKG graph. A couple of years ago, I was moving and decided to get rid of some clutter. I found a few old notebooks and blue books from when I was in college. I couldn't read about half of it. It's pretty sad when you can't read your own handwriting. :)
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
With the exception of my signature, which is an odd hybrid of cursive, print and squiggly lines, I haven't written in cursive since elementary school and if I had to write out the alphabet in cursive, I simply couldn't do it. I think I could do most of the lowercase letters, but some of the funky uppercase letters, like G and S I honestly have no idea how to write. I can read cursive just as well as I can read anything else, because if I see the letter, I'll remember what it is, but I can't remember it when I have to write it.

My handwriting for print letters is terrible too. Not too long ago, my mom dug up some old work I did back in like 1st and 2nd grade and I was shocked by how little my handwriting has changed since then, it's still a bunch of illegible chicken scratch.
 

Melrose

Suspended
Dec 12, 2007
7,807
392
I typically write only when I know I'm the only one who's going to read it.

Otherwise, I have this almost nice looking square-ish printing.
 

Angelo95210

macrumors 6502a
Jan 7, 2009
972
15
Paris, France
Same thing happened to me the other day, I tried to write something but I forgot how to do many of the letters... By the time I was done it looked like a first grade student wrote it :D
I realized this too when preparing Christmas cards. I am ashamed of my writing, though it has never been really that beautiful. And not talking about the spelling, which has gone down with all the spelling correctors...
 

iShater

macrumors 604
Aug 13, 2002
6,967
370
Chicagoland
I still write notes, but I don't use formal handwriting. I use my own, it could be called cursive, but it looks a lot like Arabic - even though it is in English. There are only a few people capable of reading it.
Both my Arabic and English writing look like crap.

Since I started typing everything, my handwriting just went down hill. My wife mocks me for it. :eek: