Kathryn Murray Calligraphy

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The Importance of Handwriting

 

Often when people here that I am a calligrapher, they laugh and ask "Isn't it all digital now?" Outside of formal invitations and the occasional greeting card, we as modern people have very few occasions for using our actual hands to do actual writing. "When we write, we're not only memorizing the letters on the paper but also the process and experience of shaping them," says Joanne Chen in the September 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Living. There is a little article tucked in the back of the magazine, reminding me of something I think about often; using our hands to write is important. Here is an sample of D'nealian (below) which is how I originally learned to write.

Traditional D'nealian alphabet

Traditional D'nealian alphabet

Research shows that putting pen to paper can actually help improve your memory and improve brain function. It has also been shown that children that learn to write by hand, find reading easier and have more advanced small motor skills. You can read more here.  

Close-up of a letter C. I thought it looked like chocolate.

Close-up of a letter C. I thought it looked like chocolate.

I don't know about you, but I find my mind going in more creative and expressive places if I allow myself the time to journal and write by hand. In fact, the key assignment in Julia Cameron's classic book on finding your creative self, "The Artist's Way," uses hand writing journalling as a essential piece in reconnecting to your most imaginative self.  Joanne Chen of MSL goes on to say "...handwriting permits expression beyond a straight line...which can "turn on" neurological networks responsible for imagination and discovery."

In addition to all of the important neurological connection, writing by hand is a way of documenting our history. We wouldn't know half the the things we do about Marie Antoinette, or Abraham Lincoln if it wasn't for their diaries, their correspondence, and letters of their acquaintances. What will happen in a hundred years? Will historians look up our old emails?

Letters from my Grandpa during World War II

Letters from my Grandpa during World War II

How often do you put pen to paper? Do you write letters? Still have a date book? Do you think handwriting is important?  Egg Press (one of my all time favorite stationers) is having a giveaway with Hello!Lucky (another fave). Go to their site and you could win their cards for a year. Maybe then you will write to me!  

Close-up of a "Grandpa Letter."

Close-up of a "Grandpa Letter."