Write / Me

I don't do joined up writing.

Well, I can, but my handwriting has always been spidery and difficult to read - even to me. So in my early 20s I decided to drop the cursive style, and separate the letters.

In fact I remember the moment I realised it was a good idea. I was studying biblical greek, and the greek alphabet doesn't join up it's letters. So in my notes I could read the greek sentences...but not the english ones.

The revelation: All those people who told me joined up writing is good and grown-up while separate letters are childish and bad...were not the people whose opinions I cared about. So there was no reason to try again turning my illegible cursives legible - when it was much easier to, um, decursivise myself.

I don't remember much biblical greek, but now that I do most of my writing on a whiteboard, it's a good thing I got into the habit of 'printing the letters' as we used to call it.

At primary school I was taught to form my letters like this:

It's called the Marion Richardson style, and it's supposedly based on the way young children 'naturally' move their hands. It's got forms for P, B, S and Z which I practiced for weeks and weeks in the classroom...and never used outside it.

Before I was ten, my parents put me on a special handwriting course, and we used the same shapes - with the same non-result. Around the same time they took me to see a psychiatrist - who recommended they hug me more.

As to whether this means my parents really cared about my progress, or were just trying to make me fit in...well, when I was 19 and someone told them I was gay, their reaction was horror that people might think they weren't respectable.

Some years later they told me I'd had viral meningitis at age two, probably the cause of the co-ordination problems I've always had. At age 27 I found a note from a doctor, written when I was four - it must have been a very thorough examination, which I don't remember at all - but the conclusion was: Kapitano is not retarded like you suggest, in fact he's quite bright, but he does have difficulty walking.

In fact I still do. My drawing skills haven't improved since I was five, over the years I've become more careful rather than less clumsy, and yes, the spidery handwriting.

It might have been true about speaking too. There's the stereotype that speech therapists and professional speakers have overcome some difficulties in speech. Well my job is to teach people to talk just like me.

On the other hand, maybe everyone's got shaky hands, unsure feet and loose lips, and I just notice mine more. It's not like I'm disabled - just a bit...wonky.

Every so often, I get into designing typefaces - usually something retro-cool.

1 comment:

  1. I save the cursive writing for personal notes, cards, and letters--where I am likely to curse and make sweeping flourishes and draw art.

    I definitely print when I'm taking notes or filing a report--even a hand written report. It makes reading my writing so much easier for everyone--including me!