Handwriting and Calligraphy
Handwriting has nearly disappeared. We, who still pick up pen and paper, know somewhere within us that this ‘old school’ way of writing is worth holding onto. There is an unparalleled beauty in the individuality of hand written words; a window into the mind through the fluidity of the hand.
Handwriting speaks to the artists and poets and historians because it carries so much weight, so many stories, and yet it is simply lines connecting other lines. It’s a study in connectivity-- between words and sentences, sentences and paragraphs, paragraphs and novels. Special handwriting, like calligraphy, is a study in connecting our focus with our creativity, discipline and free-form.
Personally I cannot remember a time I wasn’t fascinated with handwriting. Regularly I would fixate on changing an aspect of how I wrote-- perhaps changing my a’s or capitalizing all my r’s. Often, these changes came about after I saw someone else use such a technique. When I was in school cursive had started going out of style, even to teachers who more often than not required typed papers. But I still practiced, in my free time, in countless journals and notebooks. I practiced writing and I also practiced how I wrote. Incorporating new techniques gave me flexibility and eventually I was able to forge another person’s handwriting quite well. I stunned my mom one time with a note “from her” that I had actually written. Never did I use this skill without the person whom I was forging’s permission, rather it was always an exercise in my always expanding universe of handwriting.
Until this last week, I’ve always used pens for handwriting. But now I’ve taken up calligraphy. Real calligraphy with nibs and nib holders and the ink in the jar. At first, it’s been frustrating. My grip is all wrong and without a decent grip no ink flows from the nib. After repeating each letter of the alphabet about 25 times, I finally started to feel comfortable with my fluency. What I like about it the most so far is that you have to train your mind to let go of the word in order to complete a single letter. Back to the basics, you could say.
Handwriting might be considered dead or dying to some, but I love it dearly and will continue to use and improve my own so long as I can hold a pen (or nib!). And I hope handwriting is as beautiful to others as it is to me.