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.


2 thoughts on “Handwriting

  1. I’m addicted to my pens, but I worry about the young’ns.
    My 18 year old records short notes on his phone and does almost all his writing on a keyboard. When he does use a pen, he prints; couldn’t do cursive to save himself.
    But at least he can read it. A few years back, he would complain if I left him a note, saying he couldn’t read it. Ever since, I have made sure to write things for him to read, starting with very clear cursive and slowly bringing it back to my normal hand. He doesn’t complain about it anymore (but then again, the washing – or such – doesn’t always get brought in when requested! But I think that’s another issue …)
    I’m inclined to agree with you, Deb, that it will survive, but I don’t know in what form.

    1. Hi Claire,
      I think you express a concern shared by many people. Though I try to remain optimistic, there is real cause for concern about the possible demise of handwriting. I don’t see many examples of young peoples’ handwriting these days. My granddaughter can write and she does it quite well, though it isn’t cursive handwriting. The fact that her writing is legible and even pleasant to look at is down to her mother, rather than the school. Schools have abandoned teaching handwriting, I believe. My husband used to manage a Department of Transport testing centre, and he saw many illegible forms. They can’t be accepted, of course, which means that the applicant had to do it again more clearly if he or she could, or failing that get someone to do it for him or her. Life is full of handwritten forms; keyboard skills are not enough. Schools are failing children in this regard, I believe.

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