The other day a couple came in, and one of them was looking to purchase a fountain pen. He started testing a few out, and his significant other said in surprise, “Oh! That’s what your handwriting looks like!” In this “age of technology,” handwriting has taken a backseat to texting and typing, and it’s maybe not too surprising to think about how many people you may interact with on a regular basis, but whose handwriting you have never seen.
One of our favourite customers (Hi, Ernest!) sent us a link to a recent article in The Guardian, on December 16th, 2014, discussing handwriting and typing. This isn’t the first article to come out pondering the resurgence of writing, or even fountain pens, and there have been a few articles and studies looking at handwriting, or how well university students learn when they take notes by hand or when they use their laptop. Each time an article like this comes out, though, it’s a reminder that handwriting isn’t quite gone.
I found it interesting that one of the experts consulted, Claire Bustarret, a specialist on codex manuscripts at the Maurice Halbwachs research centre in Paris, discusses the freedom and flexibility you have when you write by hand – to set margins, to vary the size with absolute subtlety, to emphasize or de-emphasize, maybe even subconsciously, with just a slight change in handwriting.
The article talks a great deal about the more technical aspects of different brain synapses firing when you’re writing by hand versus hitting the buttons on a keyboard, but I think it also hits a bit on the soul, the romance of writing by hand.
One of my favourite parts of the article is a quote from Roland Jouvent, head of adult psychiatry at Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris:
“There is an element of dancing when we write [by hand], a melody in the message, which adds emotion to the text. After all that’s why emoticons were invented, to restore a little emotion to text messages.”