Poets don't draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.
— Jean Cocteau
I’ve always enjoyed writing by hand, even if it’s generally slower, the letters more prone to unevenness, and mistakes can’t be erased easily (especially with a fountain pen). It simply feels more personal, more human, to me. When I write with my pen, it’s as if part of me is making tangible marks on the page — each loop and swirl, the subtle texture of pressure felt on the paper, the closeness of the words, all these give a glimpse of myself at the moment of writing. The method becomes a medium for self–expression. It engages me as well, as I have to unravel my thoughts and emotions, and transform them into understandable musings. And each time I go back to what I've written, there’s the added sensate awareness of how my inner landscape looks and feels on paper. It’s soothing and enlightening at the same time. Here I am on these pages, see me through movement, spacing, and form.
A Celebration Of The Handwritten Word
“Handwriting is a true art form and one of the few ways we can uniquely express ourselves. There’s something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words.”
This statement by the Writing Instruments Manufacturers Association’s (WIMA) encapsulates the impetus behind their declaration of January 23rd as National Handwriting Day in 1977. The chosen date was to memorialize John Hancock’s birthday, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a prominent historical figure known for his bold and distinctive signature on the Declaration of Independence. The date also recognizes Hancock's contributions to the nation and symbolizes the personal touch that handwriting adds to documents. Since then, it has become an annual observance that encourages us to embrace the art of handwriting and reflect on its cultural significance. It serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and appreciating this traditional form of communication in the digital age.
In a world increasingly dominated by keyboards and touchscreens, National Handwriting Day promotes the enduring value of handwritten communication. It encourages us to take a break from our electronic devices and engage in the tactile and expressive act of putting pen to paper. Many enthusiasts use this occasion to write letters, jot down thoughts, or even pen a journal — all emphasizing the unique connection between hand, mind, and personal expression.
Beyond its individual benefits, this commemorative day celebrates the cultural and historical significance of handwritten documents. Manuscripts, historical records, personal and official letters penned by notable figures provide tangible links to the past, offering insights into the thoughts and emotions of individuals throughout history. Preserving and appreciating these artifacts contribute to the rich tapestry of human heritage and experience.
Educational institutions often use National Handwriting Day as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of teaching and practicing handwriting skills. Research suggests that handwriting plays a crucial role in cognitive development, aiding in the development of fine motor skills and enhancing learning processes. As such, educators and parents are encouraged to prioritize handwriting instruction to ensure its continued relevance in education.
Handwriting As A Science
Handwriting analysis, also known as graphology, is the scientific study and interpretation of an individual's handwriting to reveal aspects of their personality, behavior, and psychological state. While some view it as pseudoscience, proponents argue that certain patterns and characteristics in handwriting can offer insights into a person's character and emotions.
The science of handwriting analysis is based on the premise that the subconscious mind influences the way an individual writes, creating a unique and personal script. Graphologists often consider the consistency of handwriting across different samples, looking for deviations or changes that may reflect shifts in the writer's emotions or mental state.
Graphologists examine various elements of handwriting, including size, slant, spacing, pressure, and the overall style of writing. Each of these features is believed to correspond to specific personality traits and emotional tendencies. —
The slant of writing can be interpreted as a reflection of one's emotional responsiveness. A rightward slant may indicate an emotional, expressive individual, while a leftward slant may suggest a more reserved or introspective personality.
The spacing between words and letters can provide clues about a person's social orientation — wide spacing may imply a desire for personal space, while tight spacing may suggest a more sociable nature.
The pressure applied during writing is often associated with the intensity of one's emotions. Heavy pressure may indicate strong emotions or a passionate nature, while light pressure may suggest a calmer state of mind or an easygoing personality.
The overall style and neatness of handwriting can be linked to a person's attention to detail and organizational skills. A well–organized and neat script may imply a methodical and disciplined individual, while a more chaotic handwriting style could suggest a more creative and spontaneous nature.
While handwriting analysis is utilized in some forensic contexts, it has its limitations. Critics argue that the subjective nature of interpretation and the lack of standardized criteria make it less reliable than other psychological assessments. Factors such as cultural differences, temporary emotional states, and intentional deception can influence handwriting, which complicate the accuracy of analyses.
Despite ongoing debates about its scientific validity, handwriting analysis remains a fascinating field that blends elements of psychology and interpretation. While not a definitive diagnostic tool, it can offer intriguing insights into an individual's personality traits and emotional state, making it a unique and often debated area within the broader landscape of psychological studies.
Top 10 Personal Celebrations of Handwriting
As enthusiasts of fountain pens, inks, and paper, this is our day! Here are a few suggestions on how to commemorate national Handwriting Day —
Practice mindful handwriting. ⁓
Engage in this practice of self–awareness by focusing on each stroke and letter. This can be a meditative regimen, promoting relaxation and mindful focus.
Write letters to loved ones. ⁓
Take the opportunity to write heartfelt letters to friends or family members. Express your feelings and share your thoughts with a personal touch.
Start or continue a handwritten journal. ⁓
Begin or continue a handwritten journal to document your thoughts, experiences, and reflections. Journaling by hand allows for a more intimate and contemplative connection with your words.
Host a handwriting party. ⁓
Invite friends over for a handwriting party where everyone can bring their favorite fountain pens, inks, and paper. Share stories, write or sketch together, and exchange handwritten notes.
Learn calligraphy or hand lettering. ⁓
Take a calligraphy or hand-lettering class, either online or in-person. Explore different writing styles and techniques to enhance your handwriting skills.
Write poetry or short stories. ⁓
Channel your creativity by writing poetry or short stories by hand. The tactile connection to the paper may inspire unique and imaginative ideas.
Create personalized greeting cards. ⁓
Craft your own greeting cards for upcoming occasions. Handwritten messages add a personal touch, making your cards even more special.
Organize a handwriting workshop. ⁓
Share your love for handwriting by organizing a workshop for friends, family, or colleagues. Provide tips and techniques for improving handwriting skills.
Donate handwritten notes to a local charity. ⁓
Create uplifting handwritten notes and donate them to local charities or organizations. Your words of encouragement can brighten someone's day.
Visit a historical archive. ⁓
Explore handwritten documents at a local historical archive or museum. Gain an appreciation for the historical significance of handwriting and cursive script.
Remember, the essence of National Handwriting Day is to celebrate the art of handwriting in a way that brings joy and personal connection. Choose activities that resonate with you and allow you to appreciate the beauty of handwritten communication.
Handwriting is more connected to the movement of the heart.
— Natalie Goldberg
Happy National Handwriting Day!
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!