Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Writing By Hand

I have been used to writing using keyboards for more than 30 years, harking back to the days of the typewriter (look it up if you are not familiar with the term). There is something wrong with either my hand, that part of the brain that controls it, or both, in that writing by hand with a pen actually causes me physical pain. Back in school, I never learned to write cursive script except for my signature. When I do write by hand, my handwriting is usually very large. It’s torture for me to fill out forms by hand, especially since I live in Albuquerque. People who live in Taos or Hobbs have it a lot easier.

Sometimes when I am in bed, however, I handwrite notes to myself. I also do crossword puzzles, filling in the spaces using a gel pen, one block letter at a time. Now and then, when I have to cross something out because I got the answer wrong, I wish I’d done it in pencil, but I’d have to press too hard to use a pencil effectively. The ink in the gel pen oozes out in some marvel of physics, insinuating itself onto the porous paper of the crossword (these are from purchased compendia of several hundred). This species of lettering requires positioning, but no pressure and hence no pain.

I do my puzzles on a clipboard. When I finish one, I unclip it and let it waft onto the floor. Sometimes, before I sleep, I see a layered pile of several sheets, showing the stamp of my primitive lettering. What a shock it would be if I glanced bleary-eyed at the pile and a phalanx of precise letters, not my own, glared back at me. I would instantly want to know the name of the trespasser. My lettering, after all, is my space, my own.


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