Sunday, January 20, 2008

The (hand) writing is on the wall

One of the things I realised last year was that my mail box was inudated with bills and other meaningless envelopes. I didn't receive personal mail the way I used, dare I say it, twenty years ago. This prompted me to make a commitment to two friends that I would start corresponding with them via snail mail.

The prospect of receiving something other than demands for money gave me a reason to visit my mail box. At least I could look forward to something hand written and personal that provided me with a connection to the person who sent it.

So far it is working out well. For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept. I will lay out the steps below:

1. Find some paper and a pen.
2. Write a letter - which is pretty much like an email but done by hand.
3. Next you find an envelope, fold the precious document and place it carefully into the envelope.
4. Find the appropriate stamp - you are on your own with this one, since most of you know my affiliation with Bermuda Post Office (and this piece isn't about defending them loudly and strongly).
5. Then you mail the letter.
6. Wait three to six weeks for a response (again not a piece about defending the BPO).
7. When the response arrives you find the appropriate location to savor it undisturbed and the process starts again.

This morning I wrote a letter to a friend following the above steps. As I read over my missive, several things struck me:

1. There is no delete button.
2. You can't insert, where you need to.
3. Unless you start over again you can't tidy up you letter to give it the pristineness (is that a word) of an email or Word document.
4. My handwriting has gone to the dogs.

This is the main focus of this piece. My handwriting. Granted it has never been text book beautiful it was at least more legible years ago than it is now. I have heard my writing described as a series of loops. While I accept that (it shows the warmth and friendliness of character -ask any graphologist), I assumed most people could decipher it. I am at a point that I'm not sure I can understand it.

What has happened in the years since pcs and laptops have become as vital as food and water in a household? I will speak for myself, my handwriting has suffered. I've noticed that the quality and cost of the pen (which will be the subject of another blog entry), doesn't necessarily give you beautiful instantly legible penmanship (despite the fervid claims by writing implement marketers).

I am concerned that the two people who receive handwritten missives from me may give up sending me letters because they don't want to receive my chicken scratch and spend the best part of a Sunday afternoon trying to decipher my exciting news - which is no longer news or exciting because it is weeks old due to delays in the postal system (again, not a commentary on the local postal service which, does an excellent job of getting mail to its final destination - I know this first hand).

In order for my writing relationships to continue I have to find a way to improve my handwriting.

I mean other than making notes for myself, there is little opportunity to write anything long or meaningful. My fingers know their way around the keyboard and in many instances move of their own volition. I welcome your thoughts on how to improve my penmanship because at this rate my friends may beg me to resort to emails and give up using the mail service simply for their benefit (and then what will happen to postal workers worldwide?).

So the final analysis is that good penmanship will keep the postmen and women of the world employed for the foreseeable future.

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