Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Quick Word On... Handwriting

I've become really interested recently in people's handwriting. In the last couple of weeks I've looked at a few cards and notes, and watched how the letters curve and sit in different ways, the way people angle things if they have no lines to guide them - and occasionally the way they angle them even when they do.

You see, I've always been hideously self conscious of my own handwriting. People pick up stuff that I've written and their faces contort as if they are trying to decipher some kind of ancient code, or do one of those magic eye puzzles where you have to unfocus in just the right way to unlock hidden meaning. I can't write in beautiful notebooks anymore. I rolled one over in my hands today, a stunning fake leather thing, but I put it back on the shelf. For me notebooks are things that contain beauty, and it's only school exercise books that deserve my orcish scribble So it's always bothered me that my writing has lacked, for want of a better word I guess, elegance.

But then I started to look beyond what was written itself, and looked at what was 'being' written, and more importantly, by whom. The most elegantly scripted things I'd read often had the less profound messages, the importance and subtlety of the characters overtaken by poignance of meaning.

And now I understand. Some people can write with a natural eye to beauty, I don't know if they practiced their loops in primary school more than me, or what it was they did, but yeah, they can.

But it's time to stop being angry about that, because I can never compete. What I deal in is ideas, free-flowing ideas, and if I put a stopper on those thoughts to write with an eye to the beauty of the words on the page physically, I also put a stopper on my meaning. My brain runs faster than my hands do, always has, always will. To have terrible handwriting is not a curse, it's a blessing, because it shows that there is always enough going on in my head that there is no time to prettify what comes out, only to capture it as quickly as I can, the way a camera might catch a flash of motion, which may not be a beautiful picture of the blank dark, but which has MEANING.

I love the way my scrawl slashes and abuses its way across the page, it's what makes it my scrawl, and if i'm the only one who can read it until it's typed up on the computer - so be it. It'll be a whale of a time for someone who tries to decipher any notes I leave behind in my old age.

Some things we get, some things we don't, and neat handwriting is one of those things. I for one rather a hand that races with the brain it's partnered with, than a brain that slows down to beautify the acts of the hand. And fellow illegible scribblers, I reckon you do too.

1 comment:

  1. Don't abandon the notebook!!

    This post made me remember my primary school years - those years of pen-licenses and handwriting classes.I remember never understanding why my letters had to look like the ones on the poster on the wall. Here's to messy, unique, indecipherable writing!