Friday, June 13, 2014

Is The Writing On The Wall?

My daughter practicing graffiti-style writing.
I went to Staples for pads of paper.

I had to search.

Finally, I found a paltry selection of pads and notebooks in a little half-aisle tucked away next to the rubber bands, school-locker shelves and other slow-sellers.

You're not supposed to be able to read it.
Paper – the kind you write on, as opposed to the kind you print on – is on its way out. And the kind you print on, which currently still commands a whole wall in the store, is probably on its way out too.

I realize this is a good thing, environmentally, but it will take some getting used to for me.

My kids think I am crazy because I print out drafts while writing. (In my defense, I buy recycled paper and use both sides.) I tell them I think it’s easier to proof-read on paper, but they say no.

And I don’t think my teenagers ever became comfortable with cursive. In fact, my son’s mainstream elementary schools never taught handwriting. Sometimes, when I volunteer at my kids’ high school, I sit at a reception desk where students have to sign in. I have yet to witness a single one of them using the correct pencil grip. And according to this New York Times piece, not learning and using handwriting in school could be having other, surprising ramifications.

One less-than-surprising ramification: if kids aren’t taught cursive writing, they can’t read cursive writing. Is it going to become some kind of specialized skill, like puzzling out Egyptian hieroglyphics, to read handwritten documents?

Who is preserving the art of handwriting? Are you picturing the stereotypical schoolmarm? No. It’s graffiti writers! As the Amazon description of this book says, “Graffiti is one of the last reservoirs of highly refined, well practiced penmanship.” And what was the first advice my arty daughter got from a graffiti writer? “Learn calligraphy.”

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