Since my far-off college days I’ve been a keyboard kid, both for work and for leisure, though when I write I do it with a fountain pen. Given that most things I write go into a word processor or a spreadsheet, is handwriting still necessary for me? The answer is emphatically “yes”. I’ve never been able to make use of those computer note-taking programs or screen sticky-notes. They just seem like a lot of work for something I can do in a more straightforward way – pick up a pen and take a note! There’s always an A4 tablet – ruled or plain, whatever’s cheapest – by my keyboard, and a page may last a day. I can’t work, indeed I can’t think without taking notes.
Then there’s lists – “to do” lists, lists of pens to be uploaded, lists of pens I’m watching in eBay today; they’re all done with pen on paper. I know that clever people have created software programs to handle your “to do” lists but they’re wasted on me. Then there’s correspondence: all correspondence with pen people is done with a fountain pen. It would be a bit weird not to. One thing I seem to have less call for these days is invitations and place settings, which gave me a chance to play with my flexy pens. It’s about time someone was getting married!
A few years ago I spent some time educating a teenager in the use of his computer. He was a very smart kid and didn’t require all that much of my time, but one thing I noticed: he had a pad at the side of his keyboard and took notes as he went along. Admittedly, he was using a ballpoint and his writing was like a drunken hen staggering in the snow, but he was handwriting. Perhaps all these scare stories we hear about school children being unable to write are not entirely true, or not true everywhere. I suspect that handwriting will survive.