August 06, 2004
Is cursive writing obsolete?
The old Faber-Castell pencil I used in kindergarden, one of my favorite possessions. I was reading this blog post about the waning of cursive writing, and I thought it was definitely worth posting about: Regarding learning to write, I must have done everything in a more old-fashioned way than I thought I did. In the first grade, we learned from a stern nun how to print perfectly. I learned cursive in the second grade. We learned only one letter a week, and we were held to strict standards. We were always required to write with a pencil, skipping lines. When our teacher decided we had good enough writing in the third grade, we could use all of the lines on wide-ruled paper. In the fifth grade, we were allowed to use pens! In my middle school, we were allowed to carry two #2 (HB) wooden pencils and one pink eraser in our clear pencil cases, and the evil nun in charge of the school made us hold our pencils a certain way, the way that she did. Everyday, the whole school (even up the eight and highest grade) had handwriting lessons, in order to make sure we would always write perfectly. Eventually, we were allowed to use pens, though we could only use ballpoint pens in blue or black. We had to hand-write our essays and papers and everything else. I didn't think anything of it. I got to high school, and suddenly, I was allowed to write anyway that I wanted to. In the tenth grade, those of us who were not in the band took typing class -- on old manual typewriters that needed to have their ribbons changed, badly. It took a while on a computer for me to stop hitting the keys with all of the might in my pinky. I guess it is a bit strange for someone my age to have had such old-fashioned writing lessons. But I am usually glad that I did. The old nuns got their way, and my writing is always legible, sometimes attractive, occasionally noteworthy. My mother has the most uniform writing I have ever seen, another product of our common struggle through twelve years in Catholic schools. I have some more things to share regarding writing and typing and how they relate to the writing process, but I'm tired. Stay tuned this weekend for more goodies, then.