The Written Word

As I was signing my sister’s birthday card today, I couldn’t help but notice how sloppy my handwriting looked.  “What happened?” I thought.  My papers in school used to cover the classroom as examples of exemplary writing. Now, I wasn’t impressed.

I have never been one to get excited about computers. Technology scares me–the moment I try to do something by using the device that is supposed to make my life easier, I end up taking four days longer than I should’ve.  And crying is normally involved. Therefore, I have no problem blaming my reliance on computers for the deterioration of my handwriting.

On any given day, I can count on the fact that I will type away on the computer, but I don’t always write.  What saddens me most about this fact is that I feel like I am slowly losing a part of myself as the control of my handwriting slips away.  Actually writing with a pen to the paper doesn’t seem as natural as it once did. The thought of writing this blog post instead of typing it causes my hand to hurt, yet, until my sophomore year in college when this method was no longer practical,  I used to write all of my term papers, edit them, and then type as a final step–my papers were better that way.  There was some sort of connection from my brain through the pen to the paper; that thinking connection helped me write.  And now I’m losing that part of me from lack of use.

While I’m not normally a pack-rat, I have trouble throwing away cards from relatives. When I stare at their cards, I am looking at a part of them.  Each person’s unique handwriting identifies him or her right away, and I instantly feel a warmth knowing I’m reading a card from my Nana who had a stroke, each round letter betraying this dignified woman, shouting that her hand was shaking the whole time she wrote.   Yet she filled the bottom half of the card for me, anyway.

Or my mother. Neat and tidy, and full of thought, every letter exudes the care she takes in everything she does. Her family is never far from her thoughts, and the pen never far from the paper. Equally distinct is my father’s handwriting, a little messy, but definitely not careless.  While most words will end in a joke, my father is not void of true emotion that he is willing to share, his words on the page not small and insecure but plain to see (albeit not always clear to see).

And then there are the small letters that cause my heart to flutter every time I rediscover them.  Quiet and controlled, they represent the solid man that has blessed my life for almost ten years.  The handwriting doesn’t shout at me, yet I’d recognize those words from a mile away.

Whether the card be from the slightly scattered-brained aunt with good intentions or my mother-in-law with a joyful heart, I can identify the author right away by the pattern of ink on the paper.  I find comfort knowing that only a pen separated them from me, that I always have a part of them that is tangible, in front of me.

Many times I think of my children looking back on the writings from my blog.  I hope they’ll see my heart and know that my life was for them and any frustrations were that I couldn’t be more.  I want them to laugh and cry and experience a little of me through my writing, letting them in on any part of me they didn’t already know.  Yet sometimes I feel like they won’t see all of me.

Looking at a sterile piece of typed paper, they won’t see the emotion in my letters or know that my hand directly crafted the words in front of them.  They won’t see all of me, the scribbles and corrections, the quick-edits and new ideas that would be visible in a handwritten piece.

And so, as I type, I yearn a little to feel the pen in my hand, to get reacquainted. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m not ready to lose that part of me, yet.

9 thoughts on “The Written Word

  1. Very nice blog Jennifer! It never ceases to amaze me how "quaint" writing in cursive is now. Technology has definitely given us much for which to be thankful, but I think it's also taken away some fundamental pieces of that which makes us, in some measure, human. OK, maybe that's a bit melancholy! Anyway, great stuff!


    1. Thank you! I don't think you're melancholy–you're right! I am one of the few people in America who isn't excited about inventions like the Kindle or iPad. I'd rather hold a book in my hands and smell its pages. These inventions are great, but I worry that the things I love are slowly being replaced.


  2. Beautifully written, sweetpea! I so agree about saving cards from family. Dad suggested i save them in photo boxes. Some days i go through them and laugh, cry or feel uplifted. Your babies will always have your written words from your blogs, and the cards you give them through all the events in their lives. Email makes life easy but to receive a card or letter from a loved one is precious.
    Love, Mom


    1. I, agree, and I know they will get plenty of cards from me. I just worry that as we turn more and more to technology for everything, some of the qualities that make us unique will fade a little. And Dad is right–find a way to preserve your cards. I have a scrapbook and a memory box. Both are bulging at the seams right now, though!


      1. There are times when I'm preparing for a Bible study and I'm typing my notes that I stop and get lined paper and write them. It's seems more personal and hopefully God is directing my writing. My handwriting is terrible and I continue to try to improve it by holding the pen differently, a different angle, etc Sometimes the pen I use aids in my handwriting. A little melodramatic but look at the signatures on trhe Declaration of
        Indepence; typed names would not have the same impact. John Hancock's bold signature emphasixed his feeling about having freedom from England ( I would think.) In any event, i love the fact that you have such a wonderful gift and express your feelings well. I thought I would sign my name to this note but afraid i might damage my flat screen. So
        (signed) Dad


  3. What a touching post! I can totally relate too. I recently got hand cramps from doing a minor amount of hand-writing and was appalled by my once beautiful script gone bad. I've taken up doodling and taking notes again – just to keep my own handwriting alive. And I stash old cards too. There is something so special about a note from a long gone grandparent. Glad I stopped by from UBP! Thanks for visiting my site too!


  4. Wonderful article, thanks for discussing the info. It isn’t all too often that you simply study articles where the poster knows what they are blogging about. Sentence structure as well as spelling are just right too, only trouble I appeared to possess was mentioning the site, seemed sluggish. Appears like additional visitors had exactly the same difficulty?


  5. Thank you for every other wonderful post. The place else may just anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect means of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.


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