The Writing Is On…

It’s rare that I write anything by hand these days, at least not so as it matters. I had to write a cheque which is in itself a rare treat. But it had to be readable to serve its purpose and that took a lot of concentration.

These days my handwriting would be best described… and not actually experienced. It is cursive only in the sense that it engenders in the reader an overwhelming and uncontrollable urge to curse. It wasn’t always thus…

Who am I kidding? At no stage in my known universe has anyone asked me to be the person to take notes when it is going to be necessary for someone else to read them. The joke that doctors had the most appalling handwriting should have given me an obvious career entrée if my lack of manual dexterity had matched a lack of squeamishness at the sight of… well pretty much any randomly excreted bodily fluid. Which it didn’t… doesn’t. I prefer the fluids I encounter to be bottled, for preference and at least piped.

There was a small period – to call it a ‘window’ suggests it may have thrown some light on the matter – during my tortured exam years, from 16 to 23 when I learnt that Big Writing was, if not exactly beautiful than a damn sight more readable than my default pixelated pitch. My letters grew, they separated – no, let’s be honest, this wasn’t some trial split but a full blown divorce – and they lost some of their flamboyance, in much the same way that a roller coaster losses its purpose if it’s actually meant to be a railroad.

If you have to write for pretty much the whole three hours in order to be in with a chance of passing your Tort or Equity and Trusts papers and then expect some poor marker to ruin his eyesight because your scrawls do drunk spiders a disservice you are as self delusional as any career politician. I managed a style which if not comfortable on the eye was at least understandable – a kind of Ian Paisley for the pen and ink set.

Perhaps I should be grateful that handwriting didn’t come easily. It led to easily the best comment on a school report ever when I was about 8

Handwriting B I don’t know how he managed it.

At least that was prescient. And hooray for the keyboard. When electronic devices were emerging into the corporate world in the 1990s, I trialled a palm pilot. If you don’t remember these puppies they provided you with a screen and stylus and you wrote your message. I suspect I single-handedly determined that we would trial blackberries instead. Just as well really…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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46 Responses to The Writing Is On…

  1. Your writing can’t be as bad as what I got up early to watch

    Liked by 4 people

  2. willowdot21 says:

    Handwriting was never my best friend either. I was a lefty but the nuns in their devine wisdom decided I had to use my right hand….the ruler would hit the left hand until I no longer went for the pencil , crayon or pen with any thing but the right hand! … Like you it would appear as if a spider is climbing a hill…unless the paper is ruled. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  3. trifflepudling says:

    I write a lot in my line of work and around me lots of people still do – happily.
    Happy World Book Day, everyone!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. davidprosser says:

    I used to enjoy calligraphy but imagine the time it took me to write anything. Alas with shaking hands (I don’t mean with another person) and the diminishing mental agility due to age, I have become that doctor. I can no longer make out what I wrote o the calendar and have to guess what the shopping list said.
    Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Ha, yes those shopping list nightmares. I wrote oats and my wife came back with stamps because she thought I’d written post. Well done to Wales on stuffing England btw. Alun Wynn is a canny lad…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My handwriting was never pretty, and now I can barely write at all. I used to have hard skin on my middle finger where the pen rested, don’t miss that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My handwriting these days starts tidy but within less than half a page has deteriorated to spider legs dipped in ink. Thank heavens for a keyboard, but even then I’m wearing the letters off……..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I come from a long line of illegible writers. My grandfather might have well been writing in Sanskrit for all anyone could decipher it. My father once had to appear in court to testify that “yes, it was I who signed those 1000 bonds for the Port.” As for me I received minus grades in only two areas–penmanship and deportment. Enough said.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. George says:

    Still laughing at an “Ian Paisley for pen and ink”. I find these days that if I set myself far enough away from the paper that I can actually read what I’m attempting to write, then my arm is extended too far to be able to form meaningful letters. If I sit so I can write comfortably, I have no way of knowing whether the formless blur in front of me actually says what I intended.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. masercot says:

    My boys are adults and don’t have a clue how to read or write cursive. My oldest has a masters degree and his handwriting looks like that of a confused toddler…

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      My son – thirty – wrote me a birthday card last year. I had no idea who it was from so asked my wife who pointed to the large, glittery Happy Birthday Dad on the front… the worry of course is, if I can’t read the name, how do Inknow it’s not some rogue offspring of which I’ve remained blissfully ignorant to date,

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pam Lazos says:

    I can’t even understand my own handwriting most days, Geoff. Perhaps we should have been doctors. Bad handwriting seems a prerequisite. ;0)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. JT Twissel says:

    I used to take a lot of notes by hand but it would be a nightmare if someone asked me to do it today!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Widdershins says:

    About the only thing I write by hand these days is my signature, and I have to really concentrate to get that to even vaguely resemble my historically accurate one. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Rowena says:

    I always love reading your posts, Geoff. You draw me right in. My handwriting isn’t too bad, all things considered. I often do my writing by hand, and swear there’s something about the movement of the pen across the page which stimulates the neurones. It particularly applies to writing poetry.
    My son was having trouble with his writing when he first started school and was referred to an occupational therapist. She was fantastic. She divided the alphabet up into letters which went above ground, in the ground and below ground. She used highlighters to show the difference and the parts above the ground were shaded blue. ground was green and below ground brown. I think he was also given exercises to improve his dexterity along with hand-eye coordination, which was a separate issue. While it might seem over the top, the school system still relies on a lot of handwriting, and it is easier to iron out a few creases when children are small.
    Best wishes,
    Ro

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It is fun to pull out the old cursive once in a while–in that now it’s like a code, since kids don’t learn it much these days anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. V.M.Sang says:

    Do they teach children how to hold a pen these days? So many youngsters hold it in a most awkward way that gives them minimal control. One cannot possibly make fine movements of the pen holding it the way most of them do.
    This must have implications for art, too. You need fine control to draw accurately.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Ritu Bhathal who you may follow tells that she’s noticed how the reception and year ones she teaches are coming to school less able to hold a pen or pencil than was the case ten years ago. A symptom of our endemic keyboard culture. I’m not against that per se, I’d just like the best of both worlds as both are v useful/essential.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ah yes.
    The palm pilot. . .
    Interesting idea, but like almost all things of Apple,
    We did not get on well.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. ikwords says:

    I always hold a pencil so tightly that my hand goes numb, and I’m not too far from fully gripping it with a fist…that’s why I prefer computers too.

    Liked by 1 person

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