As I sit here tap-tap-tapping away, I look over to the many journals that adorn my desk. They sit there half-filled, with scuff marks and tea stains on the covers. But I don’t throw them away. I hoard them as if they are treasured possessions containing important documents instead of one-line story ideas and doodles.
Growing up, I loved writing. I loved creating little swoops in my letters, singing my name with a flourish. I would constantly sharpen my pencils because I strongly believed that the sharper the pencil, the better the writing. When I upgraded from pencil to pen, I swore to never look back. There was something grand about a pen with liquid ink that would flow on top of paper instead of scratching it. Pencils suddenly became childish.
But the eagerness I would get from new pens is lost.
Although my fondness for handwriting hasn’t diminished, I find myself writing less frequently than I used to. I limit it to note-taking, short-hand scribbles that I glance at every now and then. The whole process of handwriting suddenly seems tedious, especially since most people can’t read what I write because printing is popular. And, let’s be honest, there’s no point in hiding this: even everyday scribbling (like a book list) takes so much longer when you have a phone.
The point of penmanship seems faded in the age of technology. We have traded in the traditional form of expression to one of speed and uniformity. People often forget how individual handwriting truly is — like a fingerprint, no two people have the same penmanship. And while your Apple has your fingerprints and face stored in their database, it doesn’t have your writing.
So this Saturday, I’ve signed up for Edmonton Calligraphic Society’s celebration of National Handwriting Day. I will pick up my fountain pen (because younger me thought I couldn’t be a writer without one) and I will write. I might be rusty and I definitely won’t attempt calligraphy, but I will write something. Before I forget the practice completely.
If you can get vaccinated before the end of summer, will you consider going on vacation?