Why is writing such a matter of importance? Handwriting in particular. I’d send you a wats app message in a heartbeat. Yet, when my husband came back after a business trip, I had a hand-written letter to give him. By the time you reach the end of this article, you would not be able to ascertain if I was for or against this topic – truly, I’m quite confused myself. Yet, here I am, thinking about it, and wondering what it all really means.
Maybe it’s a good thing after all. I couldn’t imagine trying to spend a whole lot of time figuring out if a person meant ‘save’ or ‘rave’ in a hand-written message to me. It could completely change my interpretation of the message. I’m not saying that a text message would be a lot easier to understand. With the ease of the auto-correct, it’s difficult to get the write words across. But atleast there is more consistency in how the letters appear.
Most of us know (but often forget) that handwriting is not natural to human beings, like running or eating. We have to be ‘taught’ to write. Some people are good at it, and some are not. It is purely a motor skill that depends on muscle formation and movement. Through history we’ve been taught how important a good handwriting it. In fact, penmanship as it is called, defines character. Mahatma Gandhi quoted “I saw that bad handwriting should be regarded as a sign of imperfect education”. In today’s world, I find it difficult to apply this concept.
I grew up in the 90’s.. so while I wrote 20 pages of paper – all in my blue-inked handwriting for an exam, I now spend 10 hours typing away at my computer. I type out emails, meeting notes, documents or power point presentations containing corporate literature, articles for my blog and poetry. I type everything. My beautiful fountain pen sits on my table, taunting me. When i pick it to write, the weight feels alien, and the letters that I form are not as beautiful as i pictured them in my head. Well – i do not put that down to an imperfect education, but just a lack of practice. My education was quite fine. But like everything else we learn – like playing the guitar, or soccer, we need to practice an acquired art to be good at it. Handwriting to me is an art.
We no longer ‘need’ handwriting as the principle mode of communication – we have the text messages, Wat’s app, Facebook messengers…. I lost keeping tab. So handwriting therefore like painting and music has become a platform for self-expression – a true art form. Like everything else, when a new form of writing or communication develops, we tend to romanticize the older one. While I understand how technology works, and that with true progress comes the need to adapt, I am that hopeless romantic who loves a good old fountain pen – I call it the era of handwriting. But I would not give up the convenience of this digital writing space of mine. I warned you! This would be confusing.