Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cursive, No Cursive

I've just finished creating a series of blank note cards for a dear friend, an accomplished writer and a gifted correspondent with a wide circle of friends and an almost lifelong journaling practice, and it seems to me that it is high time I got back to handwritten "stuff" myself. There is a whole shelf of beautiful blank journals here in the study and a large box of handcrafted cards created by my little design studio, the KerrdeLune Design Works.

The problem is that whenever I consider writing longhand, I think about the quality of my handwriting and sketching, and I cringe. So much for the spirited creature who learned the fine art of penmanship from the gentle nuns at school and took prizes all over the place for her graceful endeavors.

"The time has come," sayeth a small but persistent voice. "Not another blank journal may enter the little blue house in the village until you begin to write in those you already have in your possession, not another artsy card created or purchased until you take up your Waterman pen and begin to write all those long promised notes to friends and kin both far and near."

"The cursive script produced by your arthritic paws leaves much to be desired, but it is your handwriting (or scrawling) after all, and it is what you have been granted to work with. Commit something of your journey to real paper, and let the correspondence begin."

Is this just an excuse to acquire inks in peacock blue, crimson and magenta, more pens? We shall see...


Laura said...

This is so interesting to me...I love journals and note cards (and have created some of my own too)...and yet, I too am not pleased with my personal handwriting...I don't like how it looks, I don't enjoy how cramped my hand feels after writing...so my solution...type my words into my word processor (because typing is more comfortable for my aging MS hands) print it, cut it down to size and glue it into the journal or onto the note card...not the same...but still...the words flow from my heart whether or not I physically write them or type them...Maybe this would work for you too on those days when your hands do not wish to cooperate.

blessings and happy writing/typing,

the wild magnolia said...

As Laura commented, I too, find this an interesting post. I liked her comments about doing a portion on the computer and cut and paste other choices for the journal or personal notes. Mixed media.

Moving on...I've become so accustomed to the speed of typing out on the computer, now handwriting frustrates me. There was a time I loved words written by my own hand. Loved the wild colors for my Waterman. (dropped my beautiful marbled green Watterman on the tile floor and "braked" it. :()

Your post inspires me to write again, by my own hand, notes to those I cherish.

Tabor said...

I think we become stingier as we age. Stingy with time, space, use of paper and that cramps our writing style.

donna said...

Oh go for it -- husband loves his fountain pens and ink, but hardly ever writes me love letters. ;^)

Cenya said...

I agree so much with this post. I love getting a handwritten letter and correspond with a dear friend who doesn't have a computer (or electricity or indoor plumbing) but that is the only real writing I do. Age has made it hard to write and it isn't very pretty once I do get something down on paper. As much as I love color, I prefer writing with a mechanical pencil. Something about the scritching it makes is very pleasant.
I have typed out travel notes (in wonderful colors) and pasted them with my photos into travel journals as "altered" travel scrapbooks. You need to tear out every other page or so of the journal so all the pasted in papers will fit, but it's a lovely thing to behold and almost as precious as the handwritten and hand illustrated journal that I would have preferred to have created.

Cari said...

Ah Cate, I have much to say on this subject, as you might imagine, but I begin with another's words:
"Nothing we do is better than the work of handmind. When mind uses itself without the hands it runs the circle and may go too fast; even speech using the voice only may go too fast. The hand that shapes the mind into clay or written word slows thought to the gait of things and lets it be subject to accident and time. Purity is on the edge of evil, they say.

-Ursula K. LeGuin
"Always Coming Home"

Even my son, who has used the computer since he was a baby, says that the experience of writing something by hand gives a more direct link to the brain (this surprised me, coming from my screenager). Your journal is not a work of art, it is a place to puddle around, to let loose, to write side ways or in circles or in layers. It is a place to play, to try out ideas. Try not writing in a linear fashion. Try starting in the middle of the book. If you don't like something you've written paint over it with white paint and write again. Or draw. I know, I know, everyone says to me, of that's easy for you to say, you're a calligrapher, but my journals are very messy. They are like an altar, a place to explore, work magic, go be with yourself. Sometimes I write in ink and then spritz it with water so the letters run all over the place. Inktense pencils are great for doing this in color, and when dry are permanent. Here and there on my blog are photos from my journals; I should really tag them as such but for the moment they are mixed in other tags. And as for notes to friends, lately I've been going through the family archives, and the most precious things to me are the handwritten notes by my children, my grandparents, not a one "beautiful" except to me. Just write!

the wild magnolia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the wild magnolia said...

Here is a new discovery I felt you would enjoy. You many know if him, if not:


One Mark Lender's descriptive writing and spot on photography is compelling. Nature, he writes of the mother earth and her critters. Meself is captivated.

His writings and passionate observations made me think of you.

I post here to be sure you see it. I know you are inundated with email, etc.

Hope you likie :), Much Love, Magnolia

March 02, 2010 4:58 PM

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

I love handwritten notes and diffent colors of ink. I need to search out my stationary drawer.
I wish I had better handwriting but I think the love comes through when you send and receive something like this.
I am going to look at your website
of cards you designed.
I still send a number of handwritten notes.

Diane said...

I have been tempted to get back to writing real letters with pen in hand lately. I used to write letters -- for years I did so. I wrote to my dear mother and to my son, living so far from them. Since my mother died a few years ago I have been unable to pick up a pen with the purpose of writing a letter. High time I got over that.

Your Spencer is incredibly handsome. I used to have German Shorthaired Pointers too (Duke was my first; then Drome, Dee Dee, Feather, and my beloved Baron).

Anonymous said...

I LOVE stationery, nice pens, journals -- and writing cards and letters. Take heart; correspondence cards will only fit about five sentences, which is a great way to write letters that are short and sweet. I find that even if I'm not feeling inspired, I need only to sit down and address the envelope, which gets me thinking about the recipient. Just begin...

~Flaneuse in Dc