Today, National Handwriting Day, is John Hancock’s birthday.
John Hancock was a patriot, a rabble-rouser, the first and third governor of Massachusetts, and yet he is best remembered for his large flamboyant signature on the Declaration of Independence. Hancock’s handwriting matched his personality. As the very first signer on the Declaration of Independence, he declared, “The British ministry can read that name without spectacles; let them double their reward.”
Shelia Lowe, renowned handwriting analyst, sums up the connection between a person and their handwriting simply, “Your handwriting is you.” She explains handwriting is as unique to an individual as “your nose is to your face.”
I have several pen friends, many of whom I have never met in person. I know them by their handwriting. Some write large, some small. How their words and sentences move across the page gives dimension to what would otherwise look like the bland uniform words that you are now reading. The handwritten letters I receive express character and a depth of connection, I don’t always have in a face-to-face encounter with people.
In The Missing Ink -The Lost Art of Handwriting, Philip Hensher feels something is absent when he realizes he does not know what his friend’s handwriting looks like.
Yet, all is not lost. Eight states have enacted legislation to bring cursive writing back into their grade school curriculum. And research is supporting a handwriting comeback by continually reinforcing the fact that handwriting improves fine motor skills and memory.
So, in honor of National Handwriting Day, I want to encourage you to write something. A note to yourself, a page in a journal, a poem, a grocery list, your “to-do” list, a thank you to a friend. Don’t judge it, just get involved in the pure kinesthetic enjoyment of the act of writing. Notice how your fingers hold the pen, see if you can lighten your grip. Feel the pressure of the tip of the pen on the paper, the flow of the ink as it glides over the page. And sense the mental/psychic connection between the thoughts in your head and the appearance of the words coming through your pen…Have fun!
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis, Shelia Lowe, Alpha. 2007
The Missing Ink-The Lost Art of Handwriting, Philip Hensher, Faber & Faber. 2012