I was writing something the other day. Nothing fancy, just a quick note to remind myself of something I had to do later. While I scribbled, my friend leant over my shoulder, took a quick look at the note and complimented me on my neat handwriting. This brief, casual exchange got me thinking.
I love writing things by hand, I always have done. I remember my Primary school teacher, Mrs Stephen, repeatedly telling me that my handwriting was neater than hers, something I took a disproportionate amount of pride in. I think the difference is that I have always seen handwriting as an art form that deserves time and care. I don’t rush when I write by hand; I want it to look nice, so much so I have even been known to tear a page out of a notebook and start again if I felt it wasn’t neat enough.
I think it is sad that this ancient, beautiful and artistic form of expression is dying out in the digital age. Even as someone who wants to preserve it, I still don’t write as much as I could or should. Other than the occasional memo, notes such as character information for my writing projects and correspondence with my Aunt (a habit we have kept up since I was very young), most of my writing tasks are now conducted on a laptop – and yes, I do recognise the irony that I am indeed typing this blog post. It is that I feel is where we have to make the distinction; blogging, emailing and social networking are all well and good for the incredible convenience they offer but I don’t think they should ever exist to the detriment of an art form that is almost as old as we are. We wouldn’t think it fair to dispose of paintings because of the rise of photographs, so why should handwriting suffer this cruel and unnecessary fate?