Posted by: heyschaefferyahoocom | November 14, 2016

The Messenger and the Pen


Last year, I realized that I couldn’t write in cursive anymore. I scrawled down a paragraph. It was an inky mess, a hodge-podge of block letters and cursive. I tried to remember what the capital letters looked like and draw them. I knew I had lost a skill. The whole point of cursive is to NOT think about crafting letters. I remember my teacher told me over and over to stop “drawing” my letters, rather instructing me to let them flow as a series of expert strokes onto the page. I didn’t use cursive much after I god to college, but it never occurred to me that it was a perishable skill. In my case, at least, crafting 24 interjoining characters using only muscle memory turned out to be a little more complex than a let’s say— riding a bike. After years of disuse, my brain had gotten rid of my skill. It’s what Jefferey Schwartz called “survival of the busiest.”

I’m curious what my writing would look like if I continued to write predominantly in cursive. I write differently when I write on a word processor versus when I write by hand. I’m less likely to use run on sentences, and it’s easier to rearrange characters in order to clarify a message. In 2009 grade schools had the option to stop teaching cursive. This generation has always felt more comfortable with a computer than with a wide-ruled notebook. Will that have an effect on the content they produce? Could it be positive?

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