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I can’t write any more.

It has been growing on my mind (and the likes of parents have commentated – “but you used to have such lovely hand-writing Nick!” – untrue, it was OK) but I can’t write anymore. My penmanship looks like Michael Parkinson sent a free Parker Pen to the fucking monkey house (just for enquiring). I struggle with it when it comes to birthday cards and such.

Why is this? I mean I’m educated and all… Well, sort of. Apart from a single 10 cred module in philosophy (Descartes) at University in 1992 I just haven’t really had to write anything more complicated than a shopping list. That was 22 years ago. I can type like a fury. I guess it is much the same way most British adults have a driving license but would have no idea what to do with a coach and eight. It’s called progress.

Having said all that I can still paint and draw in the oldie manner. It is not a loss of Manuel Dexterity (didn’t he have a bad game against the Dutch last night) but rather pure lack of usage of my hands for a pacific porpoise.

I can still do math stuff but nobody really judges you on that because it just looks like squiggles to most people anyway.

Oh, well, c’est la vie!


  1. This is similar to the old saying; “You never forget your Mother language.”

    Now, although German born, and my family spoke a right mixture, from Swedish, English, German, Saami, I spent ALL my school years in the U.K. So I wouls class English as “Mother tongue.”

    After being in Germany now for nearly 16 years, permanantly, I find it difficult to speak English to any one.

    What people class as “natural talents” are not that at all. If you do nor use them, you loose them.

  2. RAB says:

    I can’t either. You’re right Furor, use it or lose it. I so seldom write instead of type now that I can barely sign my own signature. I draw all the time though, so that is fine.

    My handwriting was ruined at an early age mind, by our Educational Establishment no less. I went to school aged 4 and was taught joined up writing and using pen and inkwells etc by age 6. This was in Caerphilly. We even did homework. Anyway aged 8 my parents moved to Heath in Cardiff. I reluctantly went with them, as you do.

    To my great surprise, I found that the junior school I was placed in, were still printing in pencil. No problem, I’ll wait for my classmates to catch up eh? Nope I wasn’t allowed to carry on with joined up, I was forced to print in pencil too, I was never sure of the reason… not to embarrass them or something? Boy was I pissed off! But my handwriting never recovered.

  3. bloke in spain says:

    Here’s a thought:
    Handwriting’s mostly muscle memory & it sounds like some of us have lost it due to disuse.
    Now, mine was always foul. Comes of starting at a small private school in the 50′s, where you learned copperplate, with all the squiggles. From the off, at about 5 y/o. Then attending a State primary where they hadn’t got much past block capitals. So I was taught that joined up printing style. Which superimposed on top of the pre-existing Charles Dickens impersonation produced a writing style – novel to say the best.
    So would it be possible to now relearn? Acquire a handwriting style with a bit of swank in it?
    I’m tempted to give it a try.

  4. Rab, “My handwriting was ruined at an early age mind, by our Educational Establishment no less. I went to school aged 4 and was taught joined up writing and using pen and inkwells etc”

    My problem was being the first year that were experimented on with that “I.T.A.” crap. We also caught the “Quiesonaires” (SP?) method of “teaching” maths.

    Our generation never looked foreward since.

    I am still considering if I could sue the bastards.

  5. Paul Marks says:

    Yes indeed people – use it or lose it.

    Nick you do not write every day do you?

    Therefore when you try to write (say once a year for Christmas cards) you find you are no longer good at it.

    If you copied out a page of text every day (Kipling “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”) your handwriting would soon be fine.

  6. Mr Ed says:

    My grandmother was taught, c 1913 to write Gothic script, in county Durham, as well as conventional script. For her, legible and smart handwriting was as natural as manners.

    I still write, as my job requires me to make contemporaneous notes in legal proceedings, for up to 7 hours in a day. My job is one of the few in which a jacket and tie for men is de rigeur. I went to Old Street in London by Tube last week from Kings Cross at around 5.15 pm on a working day, i saw 8 men wearing jacket and tie on that journey.

  7. Julie near Chicago says:

    Empty-nesters and Grandmas as well as the younger set who have some leisure are known to learn calligraphy and even become quite good at it. Providing one isn’t actually losing muscle control on account of age, or muscular or nervous-system atrophy or disorder, I don’t see why one couldn’t re-learn cursive, at least in some form. And if you really want to retrieve some baroque or rococo or even Victorian style, just think of it as a style of calligraphy.

    Me, my writing really has deteriorated, but it’s not because I don’t write, it’s tremble. Once in awhile I produce a line almost as good as I used to do. (Sometimes I write slanted, but mostly up-and-down cursive, which is the style I copied from my best gf in 8th grade and have mostly used ever since.)

    Somebody said of us vertical writers that we “draw” our letters. Some truth to that, I think, for me anyway. So what?

    Mr Ed, how in the world do you avoid writer’s cramp? Seven hours!!!

  8. John Gibson says:

    I could never rite, that is why I learnt to type.

  9. Mr Ed says:

    Julie i skip the drivel and grab a highlighter for the good bits (which I open with a ‘pop’ and ‘squeak’ on the page) to show the judge and opponent that we have a key moment. That is my version of Kasparov putting on his watch when he knows he has won a game of chess.

  10. Julie near Chicago says:

    Sounds like a winning strategy. LOL :>)!

  11. NickM says:

    I can do cursive as well as the next motherfucker. That Quentin Tarantino thinks he invented swearing? He should have been in Ryton Comprehensive school yard c. 1989. The parrot-faced wazzack. You seriously don’t want to hear the linguistic inventiveness of a load of bored teenage Tyne folk. I mean we gave the World Viz… We used to excel at heavy engineering and ship-building and stuff but in my time we have simply become World Class at profanity.

  12. Sam Duncan says:

    I discovered exactly the same thing about 10-15 years ago. My writing was never spectacular, but it was presentable. In fact I used to look down on people with poor handwriting, and now I’m one of them. There’s a lesson in there, somewhere. I have to print in small caps nowadays if I want to be understood; my “normal” writing more closely resembles a form of shorthand (which, in a sense, I suppose it is)

    I think FT and the Bloke are right: it’s muscle memory, and that can easily be lost if you don’t use it regularly. Like Nick, I can now type – touch-type, at that – despite never having formally learned. I don’t type “properly”, mind you, with my fingers resting on the home row and all that, but using a keyboard for several hours a day for more than 25 years means that my fingers know where all the letters are better than I do. Swings and roundabouts…

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