Through the (almost) 5 years since I’ve left college, I’ve been keenly aware of the declining quality of my penmanship. Like so many others, 99% of the written word I generate is recorded via a keyboard and computer instead of via pen and ink. About two years ago, I decided that, in order to reverse the declining quality of my handwriting, I needed to be very intentional about regularly picking up a pen and writing. Around the same time I came to this realization, I was gifted my first fountain pen by Mr. Anderson. Shortly after receiveing the pen (and ordering some inks from Levenger), I picked up my first Moleskine and started writing regularly. Since that time, I’ve tried (with varying success) to sit down at least once weekly to write a few pages. Honestly, I can’t say that my penmanship has improved a whole lot, but that’s okay. I’ve really come to enjoy the ritual that comes along with “real” writing. Like the ritual of filling, tamping, lighting, and enjoying a nice pipe with a friend, I take joy in the process of selecting ink, drawing it up into the pen and putting the ink to paper in a meaningful way.
So…all of that to introduce an article I ran across today in The Guardian. The article talks at length about this issue – the global decline of handwriting quality. I found it very interesting, and it gladdened me to realize that in a small way, I’ve been doing my part to improve this situation. For those of you who don’t write much, I’d encourage you to treat yourself to a nice pen (doesn’t have to be a $150 Waterman – really anything better than a $0.25 bic will do), some decent paper (a Moleskine, perhaps?) and write periodically. Writing well is a skill that not many people posses in today’s world – hopefully after spending some good time with pen, ink, and paper, you’ll soon be able to take pride in your penmanship. Our loved ones would delight in receiving well-thought-out, handwritten notes instead of terse, rather impersonal emails. They deserve the time it takes to hand-write the notes, and so do you.