Why not write a letter?

If you’re a little bored during this pandemic it just might be the perfect time for you to reach out and touch someone with a little love. Send that love in the form of a hand written letter.

Who doesn’t like to find a personal message ‘just to them’ in their mailbox, a message that says someone is thinking of them? Don’t type the letter. Pick up a pen and take your time crafting each word. Your handwriting is a little bit of you. Type is so impersonal. In intimate correspondence the hand written letter will always reign supreme.

You can dress up your letter with pictures. One picture is worth a thousand words. A picture to make your friend smile, a picture to make your friend think of something pleasing. Words and pictures together have delighted human beings for centuries. Why not now?

True, it slows one down to write, especially to hand write, but we need to slow ourselves down sometimes. Streamlining our activities in life may help us get more accomplished, but it’s quality we should be after, not quantity.

“Writing by hand, mouthing by mouth: in each case you get a very strong physical sense of the emergence of language … print obliterates it, type has no drawl”, says American novelist William Gass, and I agree.

If you must type because you have some physical problem, well ok, but most of us should do the human thing whenever possible, not the machine thing. Too many tasks these days are designated away from personal human touch.

Perhaps you’re writing to your friend while enjoying a cup of coffee. Tell them about it. Draw the cup. Take time. Describe where you’re sitting. Imagine your friend is with you and write stream of consciousness style just as though they were with you in person. Dot dot dot, dash, dash, dash. Sure, you could phone them, but maybe they’re busy and don’t care to be interrupted. A letter is always so very polite. It patiently waits to be read. It makes no demands, only offers delight

Turn your letter into a little book. It’s easily done by inserting a few sheets of paper.

Poke holes into the papers and use colored twine or ribbon to tie the pages together. Use your creativity. Turn on your imagaination and GO! Be an artist.

The act of writing is a wonderful discipline. Our minds are forced to send messages to our fingers and our fingers must respond with precision. We can’t be in a rush. We must discipline ourselves to write slowly and carefully so our writing is not only legible, but also handsome. Most of us care how we look. We should also care how our writing looks and if we’re not pleased we should practice. Practice makes improvement!

Writing is like yoga. It forces our bodies to obey our minds. It encourages us toward harmony. A letter should be a work of art that not only touches the heart of our friend, but hopfully also entertains them, and in this pandemic who couldn’t use a little extra entertainment.

Machines have no grace. Hopefully we humans do, and our handwritten, artful letters can sprinkle a little of that grace out into our weary world as we reach out to others in this most personal way.

Speak with your pen! Send the gift of a letter to someone letting them know you are thinking of them. If it’s a heart to heart letter it just might make their day and wouldn’t you feel good about yourself if you could make another so happy. Sure you would.

“More than kisses, letters mingle souls; For, thus friends absent speak.” _____John Donne

The Art of Hand Writing

Carol Ann’s handwriting

I love to write by hand. Do you? Handwriting is personal. It’s expressive. I wrote my 244 page book, “The Art of Letter writing” by hand. You see, since I love handwritten letters I wanted my book on letterwriting to be hand written too. Publishers did not agree. They insisted it appear in type, so, I printed my book myself, my way. It was a labor of love.

Every day I enjoy handwriting at least two letters. I write to my sons, to in-person friends, and to my many pen friends who live all over the world. As a result of all this writing I receive many letters from many people. My mailbox is happy and so am I, but I’m most happy when the letters I receive are handwritten. That’s because handwriting is an art, and I love art! I also love to get to know people from all sorts of different places and I love to see the script that each of these persons has invented. Yes, invented, for though most of us may have been taught the same method of handwriting we each will put our own personality into our writing and each script will evolve differently.

The other day I was looking through a book called “Handwriting of the famous and Infamous” by Sheila Lowe and it got me thinking about the handwriting of some of my pen friends and how their handwriting resembled the writing of famous and important people. No two handwritings are ever exactly the same, but many have similar characteristics.

Take the handwriting of Princes Diana.

Princess Diana’s handwriting

Diana’s handwriting is large and rounded with an openness that suggests to graphologists she is someone who was always ready for something new and exciting. This is also true of my pen friend Bonnie and her handwriting. Bonnie lives in Lancaster, New York. Her script is large and rounded too. Look at Bonnie’s handwriting.

Handwriting experts say large and open writing suggests the writer is motivated by a need to serve those she loves. This was true of Diana and it’s true of my friend Bonnie.

Now a very different writing style is that of Hillary Clinton. Take a look.

Hillary Clinton’s handwriting

Hillary’s handwriting has an airy appearance too, which is often seen in highly progressive people, but it’s not as open. People with this airy characteristic in their handwriting are driven to make improvements in their environment and in the world. My in-person and pen friend Barb, from Hudson, Ohio, has handwriting similar to Hillary’s – at least I think so. What do you think?

Barbara’s handwriting

Edgar Allan Poe, Poet (1809-1849) was born in Boston. I love Boston. I used to live there, but that’s neither here nor there. Getting back to Poe, it’s sad that he was orphaned at the age of two. He was sent to live with the Allens, thus the Allen in his name, but these people never adopted him. One wonders what kind of relationship he had with this new family and if that relationship influenced the type of fiction writing he would pursue. Take a look at Poe’s handwriting.

Edgar Allen Poe’s handwriting

Experts say one of the signs of a strong intellect is the sharply pointed letters in the middle zone and a well-developed upper zone. This handwriting belongs to a person who would not simply accept what he was told, but had to examine the facts for himself. This also sounds a lot like my pen friend Rebecca who lives in McKee, Kentucky. Take a look at Rebecca’s handwriting.

Rebecca’s handwriting

Now we come to one of my favorite composer/performers. It’s Paul McCartney. I love, love, love his music. Take a look at a page from his notebook showing an early draft of the lyrics to “hey Jude”.

Paul McCartney’s handwriting

In his writing McCartney strips away most nonessential loops and strokes, leaving only the basics necessary for legibility. This is a sign of a swift fluent thinker. I think my pen friend Natalie must be a swift fluent thinker too. She taught English at The Ohio State University and her handwriting makes me think of Paul’s. Below is a sample of Natalie’s script.

Natalie’s handwriting

It’s so fun to look at everyone’s very different handwriting. Don’t you think so too? Well, another very popular musician was Elvis Presley. Like Paul, Elvis had millions of fans and like Paul he changed the face of popular music in his day. Unfortunately, to me Elvis’ handwriting is not as handsome as Elvis. Here it is.

Elvis Presley’s handwriting

Presley was motivated by the need for constant action, as seen in the uncontrolled writing movement and poor rhythm, even if this action did not actually lead anywhere. He thrived on excitement and adventure. I wonder if my pen friend Markell who lives in Laurel, Maryland seeks excitement and adventure too. Her thoughts are clever but her writing has that uncontrolled look reminding me of Presley. What do you think?

Markell’s handwriting

A very different style of hand writing belongs to William Faulkner. Though he was a high school drop out he went on to become one of America’s best-known authors. Faulkner’s writing is unusually small. Minuscule writing suggests extreme need for privacy.

William Faulkner’s hand writing

Faulkner’s small, upright printing reveals someone who made decisions based more on his head than his heart. His thinking style was logical and he communicated his thoughts directly, with no frills. My pen friend Evelyna from North Olmtsed, Ohio is logical too and she communicates with authority. When I get her letters I need to find my magnifying glass for even with eyeglasses I find her tiny print difficult to read.

A close up of Evelyna’s hand writing

Now let me show you Thomas Edison’s handwriting.

Thomas Edison’s handwriting

I like Edison’s writing. It combines strength and flexibility. His neat, well-organized writing reflects an organized mind. The spaces between words, letters, and lines are clear, which is sign of an ability to see the big picture but also to keep all the constituent parts in their proper perspective. I see this neat organization in the writing of my pen friend Wendy too. Wendy lives in Battle Creek, Michigan. Observe Wendy’s handwriting,

Wendy’s handwriting

So many people. So many styles of handwriting, I could go on and on with hundreds of examples. Handwriting is truly a beautiful art form that connects us to one another. Your handwriting is an irreplaceable extension of yourself and that’s why handwriting is so important even in our modern age of technology.

So I hope you slow down, pick up a pencil or pen and write. It’s function and enjoyment rolled into one action. If you have a craving for beauty and creative expression; if you would love to be an artist but you can’t paint, sing or write music, well, have I the art for you. It’s . . .

The Art of Handwriting

Let’s talk about Hand Writing

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I love hand made things.  A loaf of bread, a knitted sweater, flowers and vegetables grown in one’s own garden, a home-cooked meal… these and other hand made creations warm my heart.   You see, it’s all about personal touch.  Therefore you’re probably not surprised that I prefer handwriting to typing.  I view handwriting as a real art form and it saddens me that so many schools are deciding to eliminate cursive writing from their curriculum.

Creativity is enchanting, all sorts of creativity, even the most simple act of putting pen to paper in creating one’s own unique and very personal script.  Handmade script is art – good art or sometimes bad art. but art nonetheless.  And, just as one artist will enjoy viewing the art of other artists, I enjoy viewing the handwriting of other writers.

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Some handwriting is handsome and inspiring. Other handwriting can be a real puzzlement, very hard to read with its haphazard lines and squiggles. Still, I prefer handmade to machine made script.  Beautiful or beastly, the personal touch is always superior to that of a machine.

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When I receive a handsome handwritten letter I experience a lift.  Beauty does that to me.  I’m surprised everyone doesn’t want to develop a handsome handwriting because one’s handwriting is a reflection of one’s self.

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Practice makes… no, not perfect,  Practice makes improvement.  And here’s a handwriting tip if you’re looking to spruce up your script.  Slow your hand down and write a little larger.  These two simple actions will do wonders for legibility and style.  Slowing down will also probably do wonders for your blood pressure.

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Having a legible and pleasing handwriting is something to be proud of and using that pleasing handwriting skill to send personal messages to family, friends and business associates is a lovely practice.  Why? It’s because handwritten messages show we’re thinking of a person and willing to spend our precious time making something unique and original just for them. Because these personal messages are so rare they stand out in a very good way.

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I always knew this, but I was delighted to see a modern technological company, Gracious Eloise, agreeing with me.  This company advertises and sells  faux personal correspondence. Crazy huh?  They will write notes for their customers in what they call realistic digital handwriting, complete with the random quirks and wobbles of real human beings.  They obviously realize there’s value in personal touch, and as they say in their ad, “they’ll help their customers personally connect in business utilizing the power of digital handwriting to cut through the clutter of their fast-paced lives.”

Unfortunately, this digital handwriting, no matter how authentic it may look , is not really personal.  IT’S FAKE!

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To write a real personal note or letter you need a real person doing the real writing, I’m sorry, but only then will that note or letter evoke a  real warm and fuzzy response.

But besides delighting others with our handwritten messages we can delight ourselves with our handwriting.  I find writing as relaxing and rejuvenating as going off to a spa. Have you ever gone to a spa?  I have and it’s a real treat, quite refreshing, but I have had  lovely spa experiences while staying right at home.

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Every now and then it’s time for a “Spa Day”.  I give myself permission to take the day off and relax at home partaking in luxurious treatments – shampoo, facial, manicure, bubble bath and healthful activities too – exercise and/or walks in nature.  And on my spa days I enjoy long and sensuous writing sessions.  I settle in a comfortable location, pull out my fountain pen and enjoy crafting slow, flowing strokes across smooth, clean paper.  As I focus on positive and beautiful thoughts, creating words to express those thoughts, my spirit soars. This physical process is soothing and sensuous and the sharing doubles my joy.

If I’m tense or rushed my handwriting suffers, but as I slow down and gracefully form my letters with care I can almost feel the tension melt away. The slow, flowing movement of my pen across the paper, along with the quiet time spent in reflection, create the effect of a mental and physical massage.  I step away from my writing time refreshed and rejuvenated.

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This is because handwriting is not only physical but also physiological and psychological. David V. Barrett explains this writing process in his book Graphology. He says, “When you write you use manual skills that are learned throughout your life, but handwriting is also self expression.”

It’s interesting how a class of children taught the same handwriting style will all develop that style in different ways.  By early adulthood the handwriting of each class member will be unique, showing each individuals personality.  And writing can actually help us think.

How neat is all that?  Like a lock of our hair or a DNA sample, our handwriting is a bit of our unique self.  Therefore, when we send a handwritten message to someone we are truly sending a bit of our self to them.  It’s personal, and it’s no wonder that receiving such a message makes a person feel honored and special.

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And your handwriting could teach you things about yourself too, things you did not know.  Try this:  Take a sheet of paper, 8 x 10 inches, and fill the whole page with your handwriting.  Write about anything at all – what you did today, what your hopes are for the future, what you need to do tomorrow …

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then pick up a handwriting analysis book like “Handwriting Analysis Putting it to work for you” by Andrea McNichol.  This book was consulted by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, Scotland Yard, the U.S. Department of Defense, and Fortune 500 companies.

In this book you’ll learn things like: People with small handwriting tend to be modest.   People whose handwriting slopes to the left may be unwilling to go out and fight the world.  People with a right slant often like to show their feelings and take an active part in life.

As you look over your handwriting while reading an analysis book you will discover things about yourself you might be very interested to learn.

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So you see there’s more to handwriting than meets the eye at first glance. It’s art and it’s a fascinating subject, just as you are a fascinating subject.  Your handwriting is you.   Think about it, then do more than think.  Get yourself a pen, some paper and …

Write

Hand Write