The secret code: Happy National Handwriting Day

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”~Isaac Asimov, American scientist

I realize that to create a secret code, write in cursive.

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Haiku written with the Use Your Handwriting app

As a scrapbooker, it continues to stun me that other paper artists hate their handwriting. Yes, they use the H-word. They don’t want to write about the event they are scrapbooking because their handwriting is [insert negative word]. In the planner community, people boldly state that they practice handwriting. Seriously, don’t you know how to write?

Sadly, they don’t.

I admit to being dinosaur-aged by saying that I learned cursive in kindergarten and grade school. You know, as part of the curriculum. As part of our daily lessons. We never thought about it, we just did it, on off-white newspaper-type paper with rows of blue and red dotted lines to space out evenness. Granted, I never understood why capital letter “Q” looked like a “2” or capital “G” and the benefits of that, but I know how to write. I love my handwriting. It’s uneven, curly and squiggly. Sometimes my letters stick together and mold into each other. Sometimes my writing flows with wide, loopy letters and hanging tails. I write bigger than I think I do, so I often cram letters at the end of the page to finish my word. My writing is organic. My writing is me.

Why all this fuss? Believe it or not, there are still some places where you need to sign papers. To pay the landscaping company that doesn’t accept electronic payment, you have to write out a check. When you buy or sell a house, you need to sign your name. Even that scribbly scrawl that counts for electronic signature in grocery stores is a mild form of cursive.

I handwrite in my journals. I started diaries since I was this big **holds hand at waist** and have never stopped. I write in different colored pens because that makes me happy. I write until my thumbpad aches and the skin on fourth finger knuckle is red.

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Haiku Horizons, Week 153 prompt: Flood

If you think handwriting isn’t important, look at snail mail letters. We all have them, perhaps dusty and buried in corner basement boxes, but we have them. Would your 16th Birthday card be as meaningful if your mom had typed her name on it? Does looking at your child’s scrawl “I lov you” on construction paper make you smile, maybe tear up a little bit?

Handwriting brings instant memories and emotions. I can picture my mom’s handwriting, blue ink letters pressed hard that she left indents on the back of the paper. Dad printed most of the time, perfect little time-consuming alphabet letters in black ink. I think being drafted in World War II contributed to that, but when he signed papers, his signature is meticulous and perfect. I had pen pals in school, and we wrote five-page letters some days.  Writing was fun.

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Dad wrote me letters when I was in college. Lots of letters. Everyday stuff. That’s love.

When a college friend was going through papers after her mother’s death, she found a birthday card that my dad had mailed her. Dad was like that. She gave it to me, and I distinctly remember running my fingers over his words.

“Thank you,” I said, breathless. Dad had died about five years before, and this simple card was a precious gift. I could picture him hunched over at the dining room table, in the corner seat, focused on each letter, writing this to her as if people did this sort of thing every day. I did not crumple into tears. I smiled, lost in so many thoughts.

When I looked up, my friend was staring at me. Her mother had died about five months before this. “I hope I can be that strong like you someday,” she said. She wasn’t ready yet. That is the power of writing by hand.

January 23rd is National Handwriting Day, which is John Hancock’s birthday. Imagine if he, the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence, had not known how to write.

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