Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Penmanship Is Awesome.

So, when was the last time you wrote something in cursive?  I mean, besides signing your name on your grandma's birthday card.  When was the last time you actually wrote out entire sentences in cursive, real cursive, not some bastard form of cursive/printing?  Come to think of it - when was the last time you wrote an actual full sentence that didn't involve a computer? 

Ah, the age of computers.  The clicky little keyboard has completely destroyed our ability to write with a pen and paper.  Our penmanship has been denuded, deforested; our ability to communicate now precariously perched on a flimsy technological branch, which, while incredibly fast and convenient, requires only a slightly distracted driver smashing into a power box 2 miles away to send us crashing to the ground like an aged spotted owl. 

You can't remember how to actually write in cursive?  Shame on you.  But, alas, I was rapidly forgetting it, myself.  So I decided to conquer my fear of my horrific south-pawed scribbling and re-learn cursive writing.

I went to The Best Place on Earth and bought this book:

I tried not to be offended by the notion that its target audience is the average American 2nd grader.  When I was in the 2nd grade, I had like a 10th grade reading level.  So I figure, now I'm an adult - I'm entitled to regress.

As you know my fondness for the writer's greatest crutch, the Bullet List, I offer to you:

What Kat Learned While Practicing Her Cursive

1.  For all you purists out there who are freaking out about how they aren't teaching cursive in school anymore, and how it's certain to cause the downfall of Western civilization and a spike in teenage pregnancy - you need to know that they don't make the letters like they did when we were a kid, so that ideal you are so vehemently defending no longer exists anyway.  For example, check out the capital Z, and my complete inability to form it:


Everybody knows the capital Z has loopy loops in it.  According to the obviously ill-educated drafters of this workbook, there are no loopy loops.  In fact, you will be nauseated to learn that the loopy loops which used to precede the formation of almost every capital cursive letter have gone the way of the 8-track.  (Both losses equally tragic, in my humble opinion.)  Being rather, uh, inflexible - I stuck with loopy loops.

2.  The secret to effective cursive writing is...wait for it...letter spacing.  You can still form your letters like you just picked up a pen for the first time 15 seconds ago, if you spread your letters far enough apart.  Look at how nicely I wrote "see" and "sing".  I didn't remotely form the letters correctly, but they are spaced far enough apart so as to make them legible.
3.  What you use to write with makes a HUGE difference.  After trying pencils, ball-point pens, felt-tip pens, and fountain pens, I have to say - fountain pens win, followed closely by pencils.  Ball-points skip around, and felt-tips wear out too fast.  I personally write with disposable fountain pens and have for a few years.  I use them at work because a) they have a great ink flow; and b) people who come into my office and grab my fountain pen to make a "quick note" will drop it like it's Snoop, because they don't have a clue how they work - and I hate it when people touch my pens.  Win-win.
4.  When you sit in the break room at work with a cursive workbook and write capital S's during your lunch hour, your coworkers tend to shy away from you.  Permanently.
Here are the fruits of my labor.  I think my penmanship has, in fact, improved.  What do you think?

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