Hallie had to erase
and start again many times.
Even so, the letters were never perfect.
from: Hallie’s Horrible Handwriting
written by Valerie Tripp
illustrated by Joy Allen
Pleasant Company Publications, 2003
The first word I learned to write (as opposed to print) was “it.” I can still see itititit on line after line after line. We were taught to produce slightly right-slanted letters, to connect the up-strokes and down-strokes, and to evenly space the letters and words. We used horizontally oriented newsprint paper marked off for us with upper and lower guidelines and a dotted line between them. I usually got an A in handwriting.
For a while, not too long ago, cursive writing went out of favor in schools. Kids went straight from printing to keyboarding. Seemed like it would be more useful, but research proved that handwriting is more important than people thought and now 21 states require it as part of their curriculum again. Even states that do not mandate teaching cursive, allow it. Here’s a site with state by state requirements: https://mycursive.com/the-14-states-that-require-cursive-writing-state-by-state/#tab-con-11
While that controversy raged, I wondered how children would learn to sign their names. And how to read signatures of others. Handwriting is personal. My husband’s handwriting is almost as familiar to me as my own. I can see my mom’s handwriting in my mind’s eye. My dad’s too. I have recipes in my mom’s hand, my grandmother’s, and my mother-in-law’s. They have become precious to me.
Did you celebrate National Handwriting Day last weekend? I did! January 23 is John Hancock’s birthday and WIMA (Writing Instrument Manufacturing Association http://www.pencilsandpens.org/handwriting.php) sponcers a celebration. A page on their website tells the history of handwriting. Another one explains its importance.
While writing on a keyboard, like I’m doing right now, uses muscle memory, “[h]andwriting is a complex, cognitive process that involves neuro-sensory experiences and fine motor skills.” https://www.pens.com/blog/the-benefits-of-handwriting-vs-typing/ Several things work together in a writing experience including: feeling the paper against your pen; applying just enough pressure to make the ink flow; and engaging in the thought process to form the words.
A 2012 study published by the National Institutes of Health shows handwriting is an important factor children need as they learn to read. The ability to recognize individual letters, a crucial skill necessary for reading, is enhanced by writing those letters. Speed and accuracy in recognizing and naming letters is a good predictor for the development of reading skills. And, the study continues, the parts of our brains we use for reading are more active after we practice handwriting. This is not true for typewriting. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274624/
And each person’s handwriting style is unique.
Graphology is the scientific study of handwriting. Discovering personality traits is its goal and forensic graphologists work to determine connections between the way a person writes and his or her personality. Taking a huge number of factors into account, graphologists can pinpoint over 5,000 personality traits. How much pressure you use, how big your letters are, how they are spaced, where you cross your ts and dot your is, if you write uphill or down, how you slant your letters, and how legible your writing is are some features taken into consideration.
Jung and Freud concluded that handwriting is a window to both the conscious and subconscious mind. Crime labs hire graphologists to help them gage whether a suspect is telling the truth, how much stress a person is feeling, how secretive or open he or she generally is. While crimes are not often solved by a graphologist alone, the analysis can point criminologists in the right direction. According to Andrea McNichol “…much of the preliminary examination of handwriting is guided by common sense. Look for the abnormalities, and make educated guesses as to what they mean.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199211/the-lowdown-handwriting-analysis
Your signature represents the you you show the world even if it is different from the you in your private thoughts.
Legend has it that when asked why he signed his name so large, John Hancock replied, so the “fat old King could read it without his spectacles.” In those days there was no greater treason than declaring independence from the King.
John Hancock lived a gregarious life. He liked being noticed, and his signature is consistent with that. His writing slopes upward, indicating that he liked drama in his life, a handwriting trait also consistent with his personality.
Whether or not you put stock in someone’s ability to learn about you through the marks you make on a page, by taking a deeper dive into the subject you might discover something new about yourself. The library has several books on graphology and the Internet is full of articles and quizzes. Choose wisely!
I wonder if I practice some traits I like and change my handwriting, a personality change would follow. A blogger called GraphologyJunction says I can.
On second thought, I think I’m just fine the way I am!
-—stay curious! (and write a letter to a friend)