Write on.

The old cliché of the teenager spending hours talking on the phone has been replaced with a new cliché: The teenager spending hours talking with her thumbs.

The positive aspect of this development: we all write a lot more than we used to, typing endless texts and emails to communicate on virtually every subject. We write a lot but not necessarily well. We have to rely on ALL CAPS and exclamation marks and acronyms (LOL! OMG!) and emoticons 🙂 to overcome the deficiencies in our vocabularies.

All this writing is really typing. The keyboard has replaced the pen and apparently for good. Virtually every one of the United States has recently changed the core curriculum for their schools eliminating a cursive learning requirement. They’ve replaced it with a mandate for keyboard proficiency.

Now, malcontents have been bemoaning the decline of handwriting since the invention of the typewriter 150 years ago. Most offer iffy arguments — Doctors with bad handwriting kill patients with illegible prescriptions. F’real? Others say we are losing the ability to read crucial old documents, that kids who can’t write cursive can’t decipher it either and they’ll never be able to read the Bill of Rights, Democracy will wither, and we’ll all go to heck in an illegible handbasket. Whatevs.

I have always had messy writing and I’m also a fairly poor typist, so I can go either way on this (nonexistent) debate. But I have thought of a more compelling reason for the young ‘uns to brush up on their penmanship.


Most of the entertainment loved by tweens and teens these days is dystopian. The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and endless variations on how tsunamis, asteroids, aliens, bird flu, Benedict Cumberbatch and/or werewolves will soon take over the world. When this happens (and it could be any day now), down goes the electrical grid and the Internet — and with them the power of the keyboard.

A whole generation of people who don’t know how to use ham radios or morse code will also not be able to legibly write signs warning that there are seriously zillions of zombies coming down this road or not to drink the brown water or kiss a chicken or leave home without a hatchet. People will stand around trying to work out what the signs mean and meanwhile, vampires will emerge for the caves or zombies will come out of the trailer park … and the writing will be on the wall.

It’s high time The Calligraphers Lobby® and The Penmens’ Guild™ started infiltrating Hollywood and embedding scenes in movies in which brave young men and women write gorgeous Palmer Method graffiti that save their pals from the monster invasion. Neatly lettered, perfectly grammatical signs could well be the salvation of humankind.

Think about it. Maybe write your Representative a letter.

(I had some other important ideas on this subject but unfortunately I wrote them down on an envelope and now can’t read a word of it. 😦 )

P.S. PL: Happy 616!!

20 thoughts on “Write on.”

  1. Delightful! It’s great to read something fun and a bit silly along with the real point of the story. I hate to see cursive go by the way side. It is beautiful when done correctly. It looks great on a journal page too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband and I both went through a school system that taught handwriting skills. Nevertheless he still has wretched writing even he can’t read at times and I have lovely handwriting (though I do say so myself) that in no way resembles the style that was drilled into me. I’m not, therefore, convinced that education is the most critical factor in shaping someone’s writing skills.

    I do agree people are less motivated to write these days because they primarily use typing to communicate. I am guilty as charged her my handwriting has not suffered. Putting effort into nearness and legibility is probably the most important element.

    I’m trying my hardest to get my kids to write legibly even if they don’t adopt a specific style of penmanship. Perhaps if I tell them that the zombie apocalypse or other dystopia will require them to rely on handwritten communication it will help.


  3. Beautifully phrased if not written by hand, Danny G. Do you also write novels? You ought to.
    I feel badly for the women of the future who will not have a hand written love letter, like I do, tucked away to be pulled out and re-read time after time over the past 38 years! Or the joy of hand writing letters to friends and getting hand written letters back in the actual mail system. (Well, I did this for years, but it stopped when my mother in law died a few years back, she and I wrote weekly to one another between her home in MN and mine in CA. She saved all those from me too! Boxes and boxes of letters telling about our daily lives.) Obviously an art gone by-by. The only hand written anything I seem to enjoy today is huge graffiti written on sides of rail road cars and building. At least it’s ART, when the art of letter writing is gone for all time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We write letters to people. Though they are seldom replied to or the reply can come months later with an apology and note of busyness, we write. Our two growing blessings are ten and eight and they “get” to write thank you notes to send in the post after birthdays and holidays. *smile* They write letters in the mean time and look forward to getting things in the post in return. We had a lovely pen pal who was an older saint in the church but when the Lord called her home it’s been hard to find someone who understands the treasure in getting notes from them as well. *smile* Have a lovely day. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!


  4. I loved that one of the lessons in early Sketchbook Skool days was that handwriting is a form of art. I forget who said it, but Andrea Joseph certainly reinforced it! I refuse to stop sending handwritten cards and letters, supporting both my handwriting habit and my friend’s stationery company (J.Falkner, if you’re interested). I also love the irony of writing about the love of handwriting via keyboard and post 😉


  5. As a teacher, I can confirm that school children absolutely love learning cursive. It is a powerful “rite of passage” accomplishment to sign ones name, in cursive, with a flourish! It’s also another addition to the fine motor skill tool box.


  6. While taking a lettering class from Joanne Sharpe, I fell in love with fountain pens and ink. I have always loved to write – the feel of a pen or pencil on the page, the smell of the paper…but somehow fountain pens made me love writing even more. For my oldest son’s birthday a couple of years ago, I got hi some starter fountain pens, a lovely journal and some ink. I figured he’d think it was the dorkiest gift ever, but I didn’t have any other bright ideas for a gift. After spilling ink on the first couple pages of his journal, he got the hang of it, and fell in love with fountain pens as well. He has been teaching hiself calligraphy and for Christmas gave my husband a lovely prayer that he had written and framed. Recently, he texted me a picture of a poem he had written and thanked me for renewing his passion for writing. I love that we can be pen/pencil/writing nerds together!
    Loved your post, Danny!


  7. …but ironically watercolour calligraphy script seems to be flourishing in advertising and Art!….eg. “Dare to dream” quotes in large brush fonts!

    I think the lack of vocabulary is more worrying and it’s less about texting and more about speech, most teenagers use the word “like” plus a sound instead of finding the correct adjective. Example: “He was like Aaaagh!” meaning “he was so frustrated”!

    🙂 <~ (the irony of that is not lost on me)


  8. The best way to improve one’s handwriting is to make it a conscious goal, and to write more by hand. A simple search will turn up lots of tips and methods to improve one’s handwriting, but, like drawing, the only way to improve is through practice. one way to do that is to write more hand-written letters. Write to your family members or old friends, find a pen pal (once again, lots of resources online). Another way is to keep a diary. But, like drawing, you have to do it.


  9. Hello. We home school our two growing blessings and hand writing has been part of our curriculum from the start. We have been working through hand writing books for a few years just to make that extra effort. Every time they write I remind them that they need to write with care so others can read what they are putting their time and effort into writing down. Needless to say, writing is something we do but spelling is the thing that catches us. It doesn’t matter if one is typing or writing if they can’t spell a word than it’s misspelled either way.

    Always growing and learning. Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!


  10. Not all schools are teaching cursive writing. My son was taught to connect his printed letters so his writing is labored, not flowing. He prints beautifully. Modern gizmos make life move faster and much of what we read is print but we lose some of the poetic side of life.


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