A Dying Artform
One of my favorite movies is based off the novel by Jane Austen titled, Pride and Prejudice. With our current technology and forms of communications on my mind, I began to ponder how Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice would handle the slow fading art of handwriting? Would we find her only using such things as keyboards to communicate? I certainly think not! Instead, I believe she would be making every effort to keep this art style alive and flourishing. Although it isn’t from Pride and Prejudice, in the book, The wisdom of Jane Austen you can find this quote.
“The post-office is a wonderful establishment! The regularity and despatch of it! If one thinks of all that it has to do, and all that it does so well, it is really astonishing! So seldom that any negligence or blunder appears! So seldom that a letter, among the thousands that are constantly passing about the kingdom, is even carried wrong — and not one in a million, I suppose, actually lost! And when one considers the variety of hands, and of bad hands too, that are to be deciphered, it increases the wonder.” — Jane Fairfax (Mullen, 2003)
Jane Fairfax and I are kindred spirits when it comes to writing. Her statement at the end, is so true, handwriting is truly full of wonder. I personally feel, I have notorious handwriting. However, if we focus on how elegant our handwriting is, we may miss the point of correspondence all together.
You know how I love stories, so I can’t resist to share with you how my mother was able to demonstrate her intimacy with her grandchildren. ( you must remember this was a long before FaceTime or Skype was introduced to the world) Upon our move, my mother decided to bridge the gap between us by writing our children often. At different times, she would write them a page or two of a personalized fairy tale. She had a knack for using the grandchildren as some of her characters, as well as, giving them little drawings along the way. Truly our children were always ecstatic to receive these little precious treasures. But if that wasn’t enough, she also would find something that was light weight and flat to send with it. Oh, what joy our children experienced when they would receive something as simple as a stick of gum. To this day, we have many of these letters stored in unique vintage silver boxes that I have painted and personalized for each child. In the above picture, I have my own personal keepsakes stored in a box which belonged to my mother. It’s amazing how painting a vignette scene that you love can turn items “classified as junk” into a stylish treasure. I absolutely love these boxes! I love even more how my mother accomplished showing her love by taking the time to send letters to those she loved. Now that my mom is no longer here with us, her handwriting remains. And that brings me enormous joy. This is just one of the many examples of what writing can accomplish. That alone should be all we need to motivate us to write someone a thoughtful note to encourage and to share our gratitude of just how important they are to others.
If that wasn’t enough, studies are now showing the importance handwriting plays in our cognitive skills. The New York Times in 2014 posted this article about the effects of not writing.
It’s disheartening for me to know that the importance of cursive handwriting and the beautiful techniques, are not being taught in most schools or homes today. I truly believe, we are losing something very valuable. So, let’s pull out the pretty papers and make a conscience effort to keep the lost art of handwriting alive today.