Pens and Pencils

This writing prompt asked when was the last time I wrote something substantive by hand, be it a letter, story, journal entry, etc. It also inquired whether I could ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era.

This is an easy one for me. I write by hand all the time. I carry notebooks and journals with me. I have one next to my bed, one next to my chair, several backups ready to go. I always have one nearby for jotting down thoughts and ideas.

I have a fondness for handwritten letters. To me, there is no substitute for the personal touch. When someone takes the time to sit down and actually prepare a handwritten letter for me, I deeply appreciate the time and effort that takes, particularly in our electronics-driven world of instant gratification.

My stash of stationery, ink stamps, and stickers is rather large. My love of writing utensils is unending. I am tickled that my daughter shares this passion. We wander the aisles of all things paper and writing together with glee.

It’s probably a natural extension of these things that this past year I have begun to attempt to teach myself calligraphy. I want to learn the Spencerian/Copperplate style the most. It will take a great deal of practice, but I am hoping to be fairly decent at it by the time her wedding invitations need to be addressed. Hand lettering is a form of art, to me, a creative outlet, and one I very much enjoy, even if I never become proficient at it.

While I cannot imagine going back to the days of typing pre-keyboard, with Wite-Out and carbon copies and all the headaches that entailed, and certainly I very much like the instant access to faraway friends and family, as well as my children, via texting and email, I don’t think I will ever tire of writing some things out by hand.

There is just something about the flow of ink, the forming of letters, feeling my words travel from my brain, down my arm, through my fingers, and out my pen onto the paper, that delights me.

Handwriting, to me, is as unique as a fingerprint. Just seeing the handwriting of certain people can instantly bring tears to my eyes because of the love the very sight of their handwriting immediately conjures.

With online friends, I sometimes request a sample of their handwriting, because not knowing what that looks like feels like an essential piece of their puzzle is missing for me. The thought that I would not recognize their handwriting if I saw it feels very wrong to me.

I fear that knowing and recognizing a person’s handwriting will be something that future generations largely miss out on, and that makes me sad. I hope there will be a resurgence of handwriting and that schools will bring back cursive.

My handwriting is an integral part of me and how I express myself to others, and when I take the time to write to someone, I put a lot of myself into that simple expression, specifically tuned to the recipient, because it’s one way I try to show that I care about them, and I always hope that comes across.

Pens and pencils, ink and paper, to me, are some of life’s simplest pleasures.

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