According to a recent article in Newsweek, the art of penmanship has a new slant today. Most Americans rarely, if ever, craft a handwritten letter, especially when they have access to other modalities of communication, such as email, Twitter, Facebook, and My Space. I even advocate to my students that they don’t have to send the letters they write in their journals if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. So what often ends up happening, is that the only people who might be fortunate enough to receive “snail mail” letters are those without Internet access. In fact that’s how I communicate with my seventy-nine year old mother. Although she is somewhat computer literate—she works in a hospital twice a week performing data entry—she refuses to incorporate a computer into her personal life.
Those who study handwriting believe that the art of handwriting can be thought of as a form of individual expression, which offers cues to our personality traits. The question is, what will happen to the predictions gathered from handwriting analysis, if current trends continue and keyboarding replaces learning cursive in elementary schools across the country?
Personally, I much prefer writing a thank you note by hand over sending it via email. The former is more time-consuming, particularly when you consider writing the letter, addressing the envelope and figuring out what is the current postage. But, I glean a great deal of personal satisfaction from this old-fashioned ritual. Feeling the power of the pen, and seeing the loops and swirls of ink on the paper, like on the pages of my journal, can make me feel quite a sense of accomplishment.
What do you think?