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December 10, 2009

Handwriting in the computer age

In finally getting our Christmas cards out this year, I'm hit by something that hits me every year, but this year I have a blog to talk about it.  In this day and age, when everybody types, handwriting has gone by the wayside.  The art of the personal letter, handwritten, has almost disappeared.  As @avflox tweeted once, a couple of days ago, "Now I sit in a red robe at my desk, hot coffee in one hand, composing a letter to @abartelby. By hand. It's divine."

Now, I'm not one who ever reveled in the art of handwriting like she was apparently, and my penmanship was never very good.  But it has gone so far south in the last 10 years that it might as well be in Antarctica.  Doing a massive amount of writing at any one time is almost painful, I'm so out of practice.

I remember one time, when I was working at Waldenbooks back in 1996, we had a calendar store at the other end of the mall that we also had to man.  We opened in early November, but the real calendar craze didn't start until after Thanksgiving, so there were some really lean days for the first couple of weeks.  There were times that we had 5-10 customers in a 4-hour evening period.  Anyway, to amuse myself, I started writing a story on some old cash register paper or something like that.  Over a two-day period, it actually came out pretty good!

But I can't even imagine doing that today.  My hand would fall off after the first few paragraphs!  And it would become progressively unreadable.  We just don't write like we used to.  When was the last time you received a handwritten letter rather than an email?  Other than Mom's notes in her birthday/Christmas cards, of course.

As somebody whose handwriting has always been, well, almost the opposite of "good," I can't say I'm too heartbroken about that.  On the other hand, at least I had always kept in practice a little bit, so it never got too bad.  Now?  You don't want to know.

So this blog entry is kind of a blanket "sorry!" to those of you getting Christmas cards from us this year (at least those of you getting cards from us that are written out by me).  You may have to call me and ask me what the hell I was trying to write.  Of course, I probably won't be able to tell you either.


  1. You're right nobody writes any more. I used to write your aunt Debbi every week for years. She always sAID SHE HAD A JOURNAL OF MY LIFE. Since I don't know hoiw to make cards on the computer I guess I will keep sending cards. I always have to write something in each one. Do you know why? Your Grandma Roy used to get so upset when she'd get a card from someone she only heard from at Xmas & they just signed their name. Every time I'd think of just signing my name I'd think of her & had to write something.


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