The art of writing


Full House by Phil Houseal


I always thought it was called cursive writing because I cursed it when my fourth grade teacher gave me a C in Penmanship.

Even my immature brain wondered why we start school painfully learning how to print letters, then had to unlearn it and start making loopy swirls that all touch each other. Can anyone remember how to make a cursive “Q?” And why does it look like the number 2?

So it was with skepticism that I spoke with Haley Ping, “calligrapher.” Apparently “writing beautifully” has become such a rare thing that she makes a living at it. For the Hye resident, cursive is the art of writing.

“I find beauty in the form of words rather than their sound and meaning,” she said. “I feel written words can express the meanings of words sometimes even better than someone saying them. You can write them in different ways — maybe a Celtic poem that you write in uncial style — because it fits the poem better.”

She is also what some would call an evangelist for handwriting. I understand the more personal “feel” when writing with a gel pen on 25 percent rag paper, versus poking at a keyboard or, ugh, texting on a smart pad. But Ping believes that learning cursive yields positive effects in the brain, the body, and behavior.

1) Improving Memory.

“When you are writing things by hand, you are going to remember them more,” she said. “With the longhand method of taking notes, you are thinking of how can I shorten this? You are using your brain to formulate long lectures and distill them down into notes you are going to remember.”

2) Building Fine Motor Skills.

“The computer will never teach fine motor skills,” she said. “And fine motor skills are needed to do lot of work that is fussy. If kids learn only gross motor skills, they can only run and throw a ball but not do delicate things. What if you wanted to decorate a cake?”

3) Creating Discipline.


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