Today’s photo is handwriting. I think handwriting is a very personal thing, as unique to you as your fingerprints or your freckle pattern. Like everyone else, I had to learn cursive in elementary school and I wasn’t particularly good at it. But I liked the idea of it, the swoops and loops. The fancy Z that looked nothing like a real Z. Intriguing.

I’ve always envied people with nice handwriting. It started in high school, with my friend Melissa, who had a style all her own, and each and every letter was perfectly in line, as though she had written the sentence along a ruler’s thin edge. Then in grad school, my best friend, Marisa shared her notes and I admired pages and pages of beautiful printed words (never mind that they were about obtuse literary theories and 15th century poets). I admired many things about Marisa (gorgeous curly hair and impeccable fashion sense) but her handwriting was simply lovely. Even now, at work, I sit in meetings and I can’t help myself–my eyes inevitably slide over to Kelsey’s (a co-worker) meeting notes. Her handwriting is funky and stylish and no one has ever rocked a purple Sharpie like that girl does.

Alas, I have never attained penmanship excellence. My handwriting is a mash-up of print and cursive, which is designed for speed rather than beauty. I forged my handwriting style in arduous hours of note-taking that started in high school and continued in earnest for the next 10 years. There have been experiments–the time I tried to make my uppercase G’s differently, the time I wanted to change my signature to exclude my middle initial, the short-lived attempt to make my lowercase A’s with the extra little hump on top. But in the end, I always return to the familiar, if slightly sloppy, print/cursive mix.

My love of straight, even handwriting began with my mother. She does the bookkeeping for my parents’ business, and she’s a math whiz. (Between the math and the milk gravy, there is nothing this woman cannot do. Trust me.) Her ledgers are the stuff of penmanship fairy tales. The business checkbook could win some kind of handwriting prize–dozens of rows of totally readable, perfectly lined up numbers. She has the most unique handwriting I’ve ever seen and I have always wanted to write like she did. Even today, every time I see her handwriting, I admire the strong, straight lines tilted ever so slightly to the left. You could line up 1,000 pieces of paper and I could pick out the one my mom wrote in a heartbeat.

So, in honor of my utterly unique mother and her utterly unique handwriting, today’s photo:

my mom's unique handwriting


On a side note, this photo frustrated the heck out of me! I could not get it to focus with the zoom lens. So I switched to the regular lens and ended up with one clear swath of print surrounded by two fuzzy edges. I’m sure this is a technical term–fuzzy edges. And I will keep working on it.


3 thoughts on “Penmanship

  1. Just so you know when I went back to school to become a teacher, I was told by a certain second grade teacher that I couldn’t be a teacher because my handwriting slanted the wrong way, she said I couldn’t teach cursive. sorta sad to think we lose good teachers because their handwriting isn’t perfect (like the rest of the worlds) Mom

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