Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where Have All the Ballpens Gone?

     I have terrible handwriting!
     There! It's now out for the whole world to know. Others may refute this and say that everyone writes differently so my handwriting can't be all that bad, right? Wrong! Back in Grade 3 at STC, there was a class where we were taught the school standard penmanship. I forget at this time which handwriting model/guide it was that we used but it was similar to the illustration above. The standard if you had good handwriting then was your transition from ordinary, ho-hum pencil to  mighty, shiny, in-your-face ballpen!

      At every writing exercise, the teacher would go around the classroom inspecting everyone's work and progress. Each and every time, I would write deliberately, biting my tongue, forehead drenched in sweat, intense concentration on my face, and look up expectantly at the teacher, hoping that that day would be the day where I would get the go ahead to switch to writing with the mighty ballpen! Little leaguer no more! :D Sadly, all I got for my efforts was a shake of a head and hardly a good look at my notebook from the teacher. That much awaited day never came.

     As the close of the school year neared, it dawned on me that I was doomed to graduate from the third grade with only the mighty pencil for company. Horrors! I was not "ballpen-worthy!" My handwriting was so bad that the teacher just took pity on me and instructed me to use a ballpen in the last quarter of the school year because all of my classmates had progressed to using ballpens. I was sad that I was not able to make this particular rite of passage on my own, but I was very happy nonetheless. (Yes, ladies and gents, I am easy to please. :D) Finally! I can go to the stationery and buy a Bic or Kilometrico ballpen! Yay!

     So it was that ballpens and paper were my best writing companions up until I got to college and my first job. Let me fill you in on a little secret: when I graduated from high school, we did not have computer classes, and my first encounter with a computer was in college. (Hey! That's two secrets spilled today! :D )

     I had to feel my way around this new technology in college and in work, but it made life so much simpler! Just a click, and your will, whim, and fancy are all fulfilled! Work is done in half the time. I no longer was embarrassed to show my awful handwriting because the computer already had standard fonts! I was free from the stigma of not being able to perform even at a "standard". I was a certified homogenized  office worker! Yay!
     Now though, as I got more comfortable with using computers, the more I fear that a part of me may one day no longer exist. That is that part of me defined by my handwriting, legible or otherwise! This new generation of my nieces and nephews might never get to define themselves with their own handwriting. Will they write with curved, smooth strokes or pointed bold strokes? Will they hold a pen so tightly it punctures the paper most of the time? Will they know how it feels to have your thoughts run freely, and your brain and writing hand race to keep up with each other to capture those thoughts on paper? Will they get the chance to see their written mistakes as they are fleshed out on paper and erase them either with a single strike-out stroke, or slash it repeatedly till the offensive word or idea is buried in a puddle of ink? Will they be able to review their work with only their own brain for a spell-check editor? Will they get calluses on their writing hand where the pen rests most comfortably in their hand? How many pieces of paper will they have to crumple and send to the trash bin before they are truly satisfied with their work? Will they even find out what an ink blot is? Hehehe. ;)
     I write this blog using new technology because work no longer affords me the luxury of a long date with my thoughts and a pen and paper to write in longhand. If I did have the luxury though, this blog would be written in illegible longhand. :D

     I would not be surprised if my nephews and nieces would be lugging their own laptops to school very soon but I wish for them to discover themselves by the way they write. Write in longhand, my loves. It's not only therapeutic but it is another way of leaving a legacy. As no two people are ever alike on this earth, so no two handwriting styles will ever be alike. It is also one of those things I miss about relatives who have passed on. Like their presence, their handwriting goes too. All that is left of beautiful memories and the beautiful life they have lived are those personal notes they have left behind, in their own hand.

©CherWriter 2010.11.23

1 comment:

  1. Funny you should write about this now. Just the other day, I had to write a hand-written note to my son's teacher and I realized how stiff my fingers have become; how difficult and full of effort it felt as I wrote my sentences. It saddened me and thought I should journal more....REAL journal, using the traditional pen and paper *sigh*



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