Oh for the days when penmanship mattered. Yes, for the days when otherwise straight-A students received B's and C's in penmanship (shhh, don't tell, but I was one of those...old Mrs. Dineen the homework machine in 5th grade). As lucky as we are to have word processors that allow people like my husband to prosper--he was used as the example in college of who not to write like, unless the wanted a zero on their exams; I swear--the sterile uniformity of type can never have the charm, familiarity, and subtlety that handwriting does. Even the cursive fonts cannot compare. They are simply too even and uniform. The perfect regularity is just not human.
I didn't begin this post thinking about John Ruskin, but this does sound remarkably like his treatise in Stones of Venice protesting against mechanized production which takes away the human imprint on objects by making them too perfect and repeated.
Real writing varies according to subject, mood, location, and yes, even writing instrument. In fact, there is an entire science devoted to handwriting analysis: graphology. They go far beyond determining it's Henrik's handwriting. They can tell that Henrik was in a hurry, that Henrik was stressed from school, probably even that Henrik was sick with the avian influenza. They see these things in the darkness of lines, variations of pressure, increasing space between letters, greater/lesser slant, increased misspellings, etc. I'd write you a sample of some of these things but, alas, this is faceless type. Just imagine. Or count yourself spared. There are hundreds of things that handwriting analysts can scan for--it's fascinating. But now, we're left with bland type and emoticons to fill the void. So, go buy a pen that makes you write beautifully and send me a letter.
If you're interested, here's a sample from Wikipedia of possible interpretations by graphologists. What does your handwriting say about you?
|Slant of the letters|| |
|Angle of the lines on unlined paper|| |
|General shape of the strokes|| |
|Individual letters|| |