My friend and I sat at a table writing thank you notes. Her daughter watched us, and after a few minutes said, “When you and Mom write, it’s like you’re drawing words.”
As a writer, I’d like to think she meant what I put on the notecard had the same artistic value of the likes of Monet or Cezanne. But I realized she spoke of the curls and swoops of our cursive writing, not my prose. No longer taught in school, those laborious hours of copying letter after letter in the prescribed fashion that hung on an example above the chalkboard now got used for, well, I’m not sure what.
I felt sorry for her. She won’t doodle in her notebook instead of listening to the history of the Alamo, striving to find her own spin to the standard formations until she can come up with a style as unique as her own personality. She won’t figure out that the pen flows faster if you undercut the “o” instead of making it the way the teacher demonstrated with a top-stop method. She won’t realize the “Q” is nothing more than a “2” and looks ridiculous, deciding it’s better to just put a tail on an “O.”
And because it’s highly unlikely her parents will move to Ohio where a law went into effect on January 1st that mandates grade schools teach cursive by the 5th grade, she’ll never learn. But good on Ohio for recognizing the value of penmanship.
Unfortunately, in today’s world unless there’s a computer or tablet attached to something, kids find little interest in sitting still long enough to “draw” their letters until their fingers can effortlessly create them. But since she was so fascinated, I’ll buy some old-fashioned workbooks, pencils, sharpeners, and those rubber triangles that slipped onto the end of the pencil to help perfect the grip necessary for writing.
Maybe she’ll forget about Minecraft, or whatever the latest craze is, and develop something as exclusive to her as her gaming avatar.