Sunday, January 23, 2011

{hand}writing

Dear Reader,

According to the Tiny Prints blog, today is National Handwriting Day! As someone who's a little obsessed with handwriting and letter writing, I couldn't let the day pass without mention. I plan to take a few minutes and write a friend a letter. I have one consistent "pen pal" in my life. My friend Katie, who is quite the jet-setter and has lived in quite a few different places around the world, most recently Guatemala. Now that she is back in Columbus for graduate school, we're no longer writing each other letters. But, that's silly! There doesn't have to be a great distance to cross in order to warrant writing a letter, right?!

Many have speculated on the demise of letter writing, and with it the dying art of calligraphy or even handwriting itself. The use of email, texting, iPads, Twitter, eReaders, netbooks and tablets means that we are spending less and less time actually writing. And kids are having less time in school devoted to penmanship and cursive writing. This was the focus of the Tiny Prints blog post from yesterday.

I remember being about 8 years old and just laboring over my cursive handwriting at the kitchen table, trying to craft elegant and uniform letters. Even then I was a handwriting nerd. I loved it. What I loathed, though, was that paper we had to use. Remember the extra extra wide ruled paper that was grayish in color and so thin that one little eraser mark made the paper tear? Ugh! We didn't have nuns cracking us over the knuckles with rulers over our penmanship, but still, we took it pretty seriously.

Apparently, kids are not getting this heavy handed (ha!) instruction anymore. What do you think? Is it just no longer relevant? I understand that there are more important things that need to be accomplished during the school day, but it does make me a little sad. Working with kids in the library's Homework Help Center or helping my husband grade papers, I've seen the illegible chicken scratch of kids today. With the safety net of spell check, their spelling is atrocious too. And don't even get me started on how they use "u" in place of "you". I'm not talking about texting; I'm talking IN THEIR HOMEWORK!

But, I digress. And I'm getting a little negative. This was a happy post about making someone's day brighter with a handwritten note. I hope you'll take a moment to jot something down in your own hand.

Sincerely,

Katie