That’d mean more if you wrote it by hand
Handwriting has become such a lost art that even the jokes seem out of place – especially now that doctors type out their prescriptions.
And while our modern obsession with typing has made us more efficient and comparatively legible, the cost has been considerable.
Yesterday after the raid on MP Craig Thomson’s house, his lawyer, Chris McArdle said above all it was the Thomson’s “handwriting” that would prove his innocence. That’s a startlingly simple method of trial, given how sophisticated crime investigation methods have become.
Way over at the end of the scale, handwriting is also very intimate. A love note, for example, has infinitely more power than a text message or email, even when the sentiment is the same.
Type, “I love you” and print it out. Then get the person for whom you hold affection to write it down and I guarantee that each “note” will elicit a different type of feeling.
You could put that difference down to the curves of handwritten letters, but not everyone has brilliant penmanship, and only wankers say stuff like that.
That feeling you get from handwritten letters is probably more to do with the fact that when you’re handwriting something, your full attention is focused on the task at hand. And we can barely say that about anything these days.
Handwriting is also bespoke, and that makes it a craft. Pens don’t come with spell check, sure, there’s White Out, but you can tell when someone has used that. When you write a letter you have to think before you write. Being able to spell is also a major plus.
Novelist Philip Hensher said handwriting has helped us shape our humanity. And his new book The Missing Ink mourns the loss of the link it provides especially between our history and education.
Handwriting has ceremony. Do you remember how it felt to get your first pen? Some people were given pen licenses that initiated them into the rite. An experience that was not without pain and humiliation, depending on where you came in your class.
We had a nostalgic conversation in the office yesterday remembering our first pens. Mine was a BIC in blue, but I always coveted my dad’s Staedtler. Others remember the Parker fountain pens, calligraphy pens, the fabulous five colour pens and the smelly pens. Once you start the list becomes endless.
But whatever you do, make sure that list is handwritten.
And if you can’t find your pen, follow me on Twitter: @lucyjk
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