Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Fine Hand

Image courtesy of the Queen's Table blog
I am the first to admit that I have horrible handwriting. It's a big old bummer, because to my mind script can be an artform. I love artistic block capitals, copperplate, and calligraphy.

My parents had their own styles of writing. Dad wrote in fine Italics always with a fountain pen. Mum had a fine, British hand. Both reflected them in a way I can't describe - I instantly recall them when I see pages that they wrote by hand.

As a girl, I had a long-standing correspondence with my cousin in Ireland. We wrote long letters to each other. She was very artistic (still is) and had a lovely, sloping hand. I pitied her having to read my crabbed, sloppy script in return.

I always vowed that I would change my writing and make it nicer to look at - or legible at least. Alas, it never happened. Dad gave me a fountain pen and tried to teach me Italics. I understood the dynamics of it and learned the letters and strokes, but the thing was - it was too slow. There were words and phrases pressing to come out, and they couldn't wait for fine flourishes and lovely scrawls.

For that reason, when I attempted to write long works, I never succeeded. The sight of my scribbles on my page took away from what I tried to convey. So when my boyfriend (now my husband) gave me his old Apple IIe computer, it was a revelation.

Finally, I was able to write without worrying about what the words actually looked like on the page. It was as magic as an incantation or a spell.

Perhaps I reflected that subconsciously in my Crown Phoenix series. The Crown Phoenix is, after all, a quantum typewriter that can move time and space.

And in a way, my laptop does move time and space. When I sit down to my story, I am transported to an Edwardian world. I'm in a stone cell with a black-haired orphan, or the garret of a huge, country house, with a boy who cannot leave his room.

I wish I did have beautiful script, especially when I'm signing a book for readers. They deserve the best I have to offer. I don't think it will ever happen. However, that magic, the machine, the Crown PHoenix - for me, that is real.


Hart Johnson said...

Uh, oh... looks like you've been spammed...

My handwriting is really unattractive, but when I did a lot more of it, it was at least legible. I journaled for years and was the best pen pal for each of about a dozen people, so I really believe emotional stuff flows better for me through a pen. typing is two handed and I just can't access all the same stuff--maybe my attention is split.

Alison DeLuca said...

Spammers! Boo! Bet they have worse handwriting than mine.

I think we all create in different ways. I've connected with a writer who tells me she has to write her first draft in a Sharpie. You never know!

jenny milchman said...

I love the idea of a magic machine :)

It's fun to see your kids' handwriting evolve. I actually think messy handwriting is more interesting, even if less "beautiful".