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Handwriting – Will it Become a Lost Art?

We only have to look at old letters to see that, with the passage of time, handwriting has become a skill of the past. The written word is no longer beautiful and eloquent nor does it capture the personality of the writer. Instead it has been replaced by impersonal printed ink or pixel generated font on a screen. Today, many people can barely write a sentence without spelling or grammatical errors. We may have advanced technologically but have we lost something in the process? Handwriting truly is a lost art.

Think about the last time you actually picked up a pen or pencil and wrote something, and I don’t mean a quick little note or a grocery list. I mean a real piece of writing: a letter to a friend, a page in a journal, a poem or a story. As a writer, I have found handwriting a chapter is more productive than typing. The connection between the brain and the hand seems to increase word flow and you become focussed and less distracted.

When I was younger I wrote letters to friends and pen-pals (I’m sure that’s a term that can soon be added to the growing list of obsolete words). These letters would be pages long and described what had been going on in my life since the last letter. Once it was mailed, I’d wait patiently for the reply. When it finally came it was exciting. There was something about getting a letter from across the ocean, written by someone I’d never met, that was fascinating. Those written words were brought to life by the personality of the pen-pal.

It might be faster today to send e-mails and texts but do we get the same feelings from the words we see that are electronically created? Seeing the words “I love you” typed in a text or an e-mail doesn’t have the same impact as those same words that are handwritten. They could have just as easily been typed by anyone. However, the handwritten word holds the feeling of the sentiment in the curvature of the letters and the ink.

Krista, in Promised Soul, reads a handwritten note from her tour guide, Aaron, whom she has yet to meet. The note evokes thoughts of how personal it is.

Though having yet to meet Aaron in person, seeing his handwriting gave me a sense of familiarity, the sadness he felt captured in his prose. – Promised Soul

I find it sad that future generations may not get to experience the personal sentiments found in handwritten works. I fear they will not see the honesty captured in each individual’s handwriting, only the boldness that comes from computer generated text. Are we headed into a future where words are only seen and not felt?

*This blog was written by hand in its rough draft before being typed. :)

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