When is the last time you handwrote?

29
Apr
2011

The NY Times recently ran a piece bemoaning the demise of cursive handwriting (“The Case for Cursive“), which quickly became one of their most heavily emailed articles. Presumably there is a lot of worry over the subject by creaky handwriting instructors and nervous parents and grandparents across the land, as this is a clear sign of moral decay. And then there are the articles rebutting the demise, assuring us that cursive will always exist in one form or another, and that the reason teaching it is so important is so that we can read each other’s handwriting. I say hogwash. Cursive is going away and I can’t see a strong argument for keeping it. In fact, handwriting in general is pretty much going away if you ask me. When is the last time you actually wrote anything other than your signature? When I tried to visualize the last time I wrote something down, I was unable to do so. My notoriously bad memory notwithstanding, it is because I never write by hand anymore. Really. Letters and other correspondance to friends or clients? Email or instant message or text. Paying bills by check? Scheduled through online banking. Paying individuals? Same thing, I use online banking to send checks to anyone I need to, or paypal. Leaving a note for someone with a map or directions? Easier to send them the link to a google map route. Short stories or blogging? Via keyboard at my computer, ‘natch. Shopping list? IPhone app. Taking notes? Typed or better yet spoken and transcribed by my phone or computer. In every scenario you can think of, there is no longer a need for me to write anything by hand. I will admit that not everyone has access to the full digital life complement yet, but make no mistake it is coming. Pardon the pun, but the handwriting is on the wall. And I will admit that my handwriting has suffered in legibility because of it, but why should I care? In every way typed text is more legible and with the variety of fonts at my disposal, more pleasing to the eye. The purpose of words on a screen or page is to communicate, after all. All the handwringing about what we are losing boils down to simple nostalgia and fear of change.

Comments

  1. mom says:

    I made precisely this argument in a conversation the other day. (And yes, my handwriting has gone from barely acceptable to pretty much illegible over the past few years.)

  2. Robert says:

    Well ! Somebody has to pick up the gauntlet.

    Stylish handwriting, says much about an individual’s personality
    (be it good or bad)
    We begin at a early age to learn cursive writing, it teaches us
    to be articulate and precise with our hand-eye coordination.

    Many areas of artistic expression will suffer from lack of the cursive
    writing skills. Visual thinkers excel, due to the art of manually writing
    and drawing.

    Robert.