Tucson writer re-learns the art of cursive

Mont Blanc, writing cursiveI am a writer without her keyboard tools these days. After one of Tucson’s wonderful monsoons, I was walking and paying attention to the refreshed desert (not my footing). I took a nasty tumble on a steep hill covered in wet pebbles. Seconds of inattention netted two broken wrist bones. Typing is nearly impossible for the next eight weeks, unless I peck with one hand. And thus I have turned to pen and paper for my interviewing and my note-taking.

Although not without its negatives (pain, uncomfortable cast, etc.), the incident has given me a huge, unexpected blessing: I have re-awakened to the joys of handwriting.

True, I can’t live without my mobile tech and my computers. But this mis-adventure has reminded of the pleasures of ink-to-paper, of crafting words with a favorite pen and a lovely notebook. For some reason – maybe just the additional time needed to use the pen and paper, or holding a fountain pen – but I feel more pleasure and power in my writing.

And I have a chance now to look at the letters that make up my words and admire their beauty. Call me old fashioned but, I love the elegance and design of the handwritten. There is a life to cursive – a unique and personal, human flow associated with handwriting.  The swirl of the “S” or the unique script of “E” forms my personal identity and allows me self-expression.

I’ve always shared a love of paper and pens with my brother Steve Surfaro and, because he travels extensively as an engineer and security consultant, I’ve benefited: I treasure his gifts of Japanese paper, Moleskin journals, tiny pencils and, gloriously, the Mont Blanc pen (pictured in this post). When I’m feeling down I can take out my Mont Blanc, select a pretty ink color, and write my troubles away.

We all have mementos that include handwritten letters, yes? The penmanship (of past lovers, good friends, family now deceased) brings back wonderful memories. How these letters on paper trigger so many emotions is a tribute to the power of cursive, which will never outlive its usefulness.

Read the Wall Street Journal reporting on a scientific study that reveals a positive link between penmanship and learning.

Read the New York Times article on the case for cursive handwriting.

And one more CNN report on handwriting influence in a quality life.

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3 Responses to Tucson writer re-learns the art of cursive

  1. So well said! Thank you for the reason to write.

  2. Ken says:

    What do you use for ink when you’re writing in your Moleskins? I ask because I have problems with ink bleeding through the pages of my Moleskins.

    Is that more an ink issue (that is, do I need a different ink), or is it a pen issue (delivering too much ink)? Any thoughts? Any local place (I’m in Tucson) which you’d recommend for pens/ink? Failing that, is there an internet source you trust?

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