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Can Handwriting Be "too Neat"



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Andreas Weber

I don't think "too neat" is a thing. ;) Adhering too strictly to a model may be, though.

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the cat half awake

and half sleeping on the book

"Quantum Mechanics"

 

(inspired by a German haiku by Tony Böhle)

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  • ParramattaPaul

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Now, my everyday handwriting these days is cursive italic. It is unusual enough to elicit comments from bank tellers, post office clerks and, before I retired from practice, pharmacists. The most common comment is something like "beautiful/nice handwriting/penmanship!" Occasionally, some one will call it "calligraphy" just because they regard certain handwriting styles as "calligraphy," without necessarily making an aesthetic judgement.

 

Some people think that anything written with a fountain pen is "calligraphy." I often have patients ask me, "Is that a calligraphy pen?"

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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Some people think that anything written with a fountain pen is "calligraphy."

 

Some people think that anything that counts as "handwriting" is cursive./.running./.flowing. *shrug* Yet others imagine there are certain inherent qualities to "handwriting" outside of being produced by hand using a writing instrument (which could be, say, a pencil or a felt-tipped pen), including but not limited to speed of execution and the language itself. Consistency is not logically the same as neatness; one could have a habit of always putting down a cross-bar in his/her lowercase 't' that is longer and wavier than it strictly needs to be and punches through the vertical stroke in any adjoining lowercase 'h' (ergo not neat), or one could have write a lowercase 'l' with inconsistent slant but still stay within the printed or imaginary guidelines for each line of text.

 

I suspect that, as with a lot of other things, for most people what is "proper" is "as much as I choose to do" and what is "excessive" (e.g. "excessively neat" or "too neat") is "more than I would do" and especially "more than I would aspire to".

Edited by A Smug Dill

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Estycollector

I want to be able to read what I wrote.

"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"

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I want to be able to read what I wrote.

When I picked up a fountain pen after a 40 year hiatus it was to intentionally relearn to write cursive well enough to read it later. Not being able to read my own handwriting had become a personal embarrassment. I learned two things almost immediately; slow down and add space to my letters and words. To the chagrin of my long departed mother I always wrote with my fingers and my hand anchored to the page. Cramming letters together came natural and writing well and legible has been creating new muscle memory. Even now after a year and a half of relearning, my fountain pen writing is way more legible than just jotting notes with a pencil or gel pen.

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ParramattaPaul

I want to be able to read what I wrote.

Yes this, and that others can read it as well essentially define neatness. What is too neat may be a matter of perspective for reader more so than the writer.

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My mom wrote in **PERFECT** Palmer style....it was spectacular. I have never gotten close to her level of writing. -Bruce

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I was at primary school in the late 60s/early 70s, and around about that time, it was thought that teaching handwriting was too old-fashioned, so although I "did" handwriting at school initially,, it was dropped before we were taught cursive. As a result I never could join letters, memorise what to join or where or how to join it. So I printed all my life (although I did teach myself Italic as a teen that wasn't cursive).

 

Years later, I trained to be a teacher as the awful National Curriculum was introduced and not sure about now, but right back at the start, we were told to teach handwriting. As someone who hadn't really ever formally learned it, I was clueless.

 

I ended up following whatever the scheme the school bought in was (and I don't recall now, this would have been around 1990). And I still couldn't understand it, not even from the kiddies' text book, so basically would just plod through the (boring IIRC) guide we were given, bit by bit, learning it about half an hour ahead of the kids. And I'll admit, it didn't stick.

 

At teacher training college we'd been taught that handwriting lessons were just a hangover from bad Victorian educators - trying to churn out people with legible handwriting to be clerks or whatever, for commerce.

 

In the intervening years I have learned a bit more about handwriting and calligraphy as well but still to this day can't do cursive. I always had a lot of compliments on my handwriting, ironically - and especially so when I worked in the US (where, I noticed, so many of our students wrote in all caps!) I can't say I was formally taught anything, just sort of arrived at my own version of printing because I missed out on being taught cursive. And despite teaching it to kids for several years on and off, I never got the hang of cursive at all.

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Estycollector

So, handwriting at its basic purpose should be legible.

"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"

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Pendarion, Thank you for your narrative. I sat next to a young educator on a plane last year. I was doing the sudoku puzzle in the airline magazine with a fountain pen so we started talking about “archaic” technology. His opinion was that teaching cursive was a total waste of time. He thought it would disappear entirely from the culture in the near future. Instead he felt that keyboarding was much more important. The teacher training college observation of cursive being “just a hangover from bad Victorian educators - trying to churn out people with legible handwriting to be clerks or whatever, for commerce” seems even more relevant for keyboarding.

I am sorry that you never got the hang of cursive writing. I started school in the mid 1950’s and can’t recall when the writing lessons went from printing to cursive. At that time writing in any form was more of a drudgery chore. Sadly it wasn’t until I picked up a fountain pen with the intention of relearning to write legible cursive that I discovered the joy of writing.

Edited by gpsgrandpa
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