How do we communicate?

TastyReuben

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I am realising that I am gradually losing the habit of writing by hand. I write everything on my laptop and if I'm not on my laptop, I have my iphone. In short, even a trivial shopping list that I used to write down on a piece of paper, I now write it down and save it on my mobile phone. No, that's no good. My fingers have to hold a pen and write.

As Dino Buzzati, one of my favourite Italian writers, used to say:
"Write, please. Just two lines, at least, even if your soul is upset and your nerves can't take it any more. But every day. With clenched teeth, maybe some nonsense, but write. Writing is one of our most pathetic and ridiculous illusions. We think we are doing something important by drawing twisted black lines on white paper."

Of course I don't think he was referring to this as a mere finger practice, but I think it can be an inspiration nonetheless.
I was at that point, and my handwriting is atrocious anyway (probably a characteristic of someone who's always trying to do three things at once), but I write more now than I have in a long time.

The reason is that I have a relative in federal prison, and the easiest way to communicate is...a handwritten letter. He has email available, but his allowed time at a terminal is very short and somewhat infrequent, so about once a month, I sit down and write a letter, and about once a month, he writes one back.

At first, I hated it. I was always writing too fast, and it was impossible to read. I'd misspell words, not because I didn't know how to spell them, because I'd write so fast, I'd jumble the letters of each word, or mix the letters of two words.

Then, I forced myself to slow down. I thought about each word, saying it in my head as I wrote it, "Hi...Terry...I...hope...you're...doing...ok..." and that helped tremendously.

I also stopped trying to write on a flexible notepad of paper across my lap while reclined in a lounge chair. Now, when it's letter time, I go sit at a table and write it out there.

Other than that, the only handwriting I do is when I'm menu-planning. It's about the only thing I don't keep on my phone. It's just on a slip of paper.
 

MypinchofItaly

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I was at that point, and my handwriting is atrocious anyway (probably a characteristic of someone who's always trying to do three things at once), but I write more now than I have in a long time.

The reason is that I have a relative in federal prison, and the easiest way to communicate is...a handwritten letter. He has email available, but his allowed time at a terminal is very short and somewhat infrequent, so about once a month, I sit down and write a letter, and about once a month, he writes one back.

At first, I hated it. I was always writing too fast, and it was impossible to read. I'd misspell words, not because I didn't know how to spell them, because I'd write so fast, I'd jumble the letters of each word, or mix the letters of two words.

Then, I forced myself to slow down. I thought about each word, saying it in my head as I wrote it, "Hi...Terry...I...hope...you're...doing...ok..." and that helped tremendously.

I also stopped trying to write on a flexible notepad of paper across my lap while reclined in a lounge chair. Now, when it's letter time, I go sit at a table and write it out there.

Other than that, the only handwriting I do is when I'm menu-planning. It's about the only thing I don't keep on my phone. It's just on a slip of paper.

There is a rhythm to keep when writing 'by hand'. This is something I had never considered until I took a creative writing course years ago and learned and also forgot a lot of things there.

I remember that my fingers and even my hand hurt from the way I wrote. Not so much because of the speed, but because of the pressure I put on the pen with each word depending on the mood of what I was writing. Some words or even phrases were much more limp than others. I loved the way the mood of the moment passed through my fingers, pen and paper. I find myself doing a similar thing when something good or not so good gets me excited and so I tap on the keys of my laptop keyboard as if I were hammering out letters. Maybe it's a bit like that.

I have a little diary that I keep in my bag and on which I write down everything, without a logical thread, just notes of something I see or remember, details, people, mood of the moment. Lately, however, I have realised that I am neglecting it and I am increasingly making my notes on my iphone. No, that's no good, that was our moment, just mine and my diary. There's something terribly romantic I don't want to give up. To each his own role.
 
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