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  1. At age 76, I decided to learn Calligraphy starting with trying to make my left handed script look less like that of a fifth grade delinquent in a bad school. My current hand took a while to develop in grammar school as they first tried switching hands for me, then thought the serial application of at least three different hand writing systems, then switching me back to printing would work. None did. At the end of eighth grade my mother and father made sure I could use, at least with six fingers of two hands, and gave me a wonderful Parker fountain pen to use in high school classes. With the pen I could almost make clear Xs inside the boxes used for multiple choice tests, but little else. The family typewriter was needed to get me though anything longer than writing (hahaha) my name. Meanwhile I was aware that Mom used a beautiful Spencerian and dad had a solid, but rushed, copperplate. Both were righties. Leaving for college my folks got me a portable typewriter that produced a script (Olivetti Scriptwriter) and I started signing things with a ball point illegible but distinct scrawl. A good memory and mind meant I did not have to take a lot of notes -- and earned me a failing grade in one class where turning n a notebook was required. By the time I was in the Air Force electric typewriters were available but I had to I supply my own. The most of my work as an editor only required pencil circles, a line to the margin, and a few diacritical marks on copy along with words spelled out in hand printing to be delivered to a typesetter. It was at least 20 years before I got a computer -- but I only printed and scrawled by hand. My 76th birthday, I decided enough. Lefty or not I would write cursive well enough to learn Calligraphy as a year plus project applying the patience I have learned with age. That was three months ago and it is a project I hope to master before I die sometime in the future. At this writing my script hand is now up to a sixth grade level. Along the way I have spent some time learning of pens and the history of writing - and have been sidetracked a little trying to make a Frankenpen of a Jinhao 750 and Zebra G Nibs. It almost works. I purchased and received several inexpensive pens from India, one of which flexes well and fit the last of my budget. (I am retired on social security only.) I have one working pen for cursive. I also got a set or PIlot Parallel pens because on You-Tube Blackletter looked fairly easy. BUT -- A BIG BUT -- is that the clips showed everything being done by a right hander. The two exceptions I found were, first working at 90 degrees on the paper and lettering from the now top to bottom of the paper making the letters (expertly) sideways. The second example was demonstrated with large pauses between strokes, strokes in various orders to avoid smearing , but often constructed with specific letter strokes starting right to left, offering spacing problems. Being a Sinister Sider (lefty) has not left me without an ability to problem solve, especially using the library and net. So I looked for books that were based upon left handedness. The only two I found with any depth are by Shepherd and are out of print. The used copies (in only good condition) run $75 and the alphabet example book is another $40. The total is much more than my meager income allows -- so back to the net. On the net, the materials are mostly for righties or very repetitive by well meaning lefties who describe the basic problems and few solutions. They are clear on three types of hand positions (over, under and sideways) but do not recognize the limitation of wrist control this imposes, of lack of movement in the whole arm. I also here have looked, but found few correlated presentations of various hints, ideas and solutions for lefties...but great general information. I have also wondered why we do not have a separate area for lefties to correspond on ideas and tips. I do not know if, as a newbie, I should say "we" but as a representative of under-represented and misunderstood lefties everywhere -- I feel a little justified. My first entry was under Nibs asking about the left handed nibs in use -- and decided it was finally time to write an intro to myself. Gregg Chmara Curmudgeon Tucson, AZ USA Where Ink Dries Fast
  2. You may enjoy watching "The Twenty-Six Old Characters", a 1947 movie made by the W. A. Sheaffer Pen Company. http://youtu.be/1xUDehNvbrE This movie contains a brief history of writing from the use of pictures to the development and use of letters as well as a brief history of the development of pens. In addition, the movie includes a discussion of the function and workings of fountain pens and some filler systems. Of course, since the movie was made by the W. A. Sheaffer Pen Company, Sheaffer fans should particularly enjoy it. Can you identify the pens used in the movie? ; ) Enjoy! : )

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