Most people have by now heard about the slow food movement, which seeks to counteract the fast food evolution, and to maintain traditional and regional cooking and food consumption. I’m all for it.
What has been running through my mind lately though is a slow writing movement, if such a thing exists. Actually, I have just done a quick Google search and see that there are a range of articles and sites on the topic, not all with the same interpretation. I wanted to write a brief note yesterday to slip in with a payment that I was about to post and contemplated on which paper I should do this. I have heaps of scrap paper (thanks to my endless printer output), various notepads and then some ancient quality paper notelets with matching envelopes, meant for a day when one sent hand-written letters. Preferably with a fountain pen, but of course others writing implements are equally acceptable.
My first reaction was that I should save the notelets for ‘best’ whatever that might be. Then I changed my mind and decided that best was now and I would combine this paper with my best handwriting and use that for my communication.
Remember handwriting classes? If you are of my vintage, you will. We had special books with the lines drawn in, resembling the staves on a musical score except that there were only four of them. The top and bottom lines measured the upper and lower extremities of letters such as h or y and the two middle lines were guides for lower case letters without a riser, etc. Each week, we practised our loops and swirls, developing our best copperplate script. Yes, we even used pen and ink, with each desk equipped with an ink well though intially it was pencil only.
How often do you receive a letter? I mean a proper letter – not just the mass mailout that accompanies the Christmas Card but a letter that is hand written and tells you about the life and news of the sender. I love the feeling of opening the letterbox and finding a hand addressed envelope that indicates that perhaps there is a personal missive inside. It is fantastic knowing that someone has actually taken the time to write in what now seems such a personal way.
I have kept many of the letters that have been sent to me over the years (proper letters I mean) and also have the letters that I wrote home to my mother during my travels and time away from home in my twenties and some other times as well. I am so glad that she kept those. They are a wonderful record of what I was doing, who I met, the adventures that I had and even where I was. I can also see the evolution of my handwriting and can equate it with the person that I was at that time.
I use email all the time of course and I love the convenience and the immediacy of it. The cheapness also. I send many of my emails late at night when I happen to have a spare moment and when I feel that it is too late to call someone. I am time poor and look for shortcuts and solutions that impose minimal disruption on my life. Emails are great. Texts not so much as I don’t have a smart phone. Typing texts is tedious and also each small text costs me. 😦
My teenage son can hardly write, which is very sad. Partly this is because he has dysgraphia and the physical act of converting words into written form is akin to torture for him. He hates it and his writing looks like the standard that you might expect of an eight year old, and that is being generous. He had minimal writing classes at school and certainly none of the lessons in cursive writing that I had. He got through high school with a form of disjointed printing.
Young Donald sees no reason why he should try to improve his writing, as what use is handwriting anyway, and nothing that I say will convince him otherwise. He will type or text, though the bare minimum at that. It is sad that he will rarely know the joy of a written letter and will certainly never send any of his own. I suspect that he is very typical of his generation.
I know that I will continue to be time-challenged, but I will try to write more letters and I have promised myself to bring the nice writing paper out from the closet and to use it. I might even look for my fountain pen and get it in good writing condition. Time to write hand-written letters and notes again.