Thursday, May 02, 2013

I don't write right

I think school teachers of the time I went to primary school were sadists, some of them anyway. My headmaster seemed to be one such person. We were lined up to have the cleanliness of shoes and fingernails checked. Mother always made sure our shoes were cleaned, but she failed on the fingernails. Whack over the hands with the cane. I think every boy got the cuts for one reason or t'other that day.

Yet when the school inspector visited, Headmaster ingratiatingly urged us to do our best. I recall him saying, "It not you who will get into trouble. It will be me."  He was not a young man but he genuinely feared the school inspector.

I am trying to adjust my thinking to current school teachers fearing a school inspector and it is not working.

As I have said in the past, my handwriting is appalling, not helped by me hardly ever needing to write now. Something happened in schools just when I was learning to write.  I think it was a change from cursive script to printing. My hand writing ended up being neither chicken nor fowl, possibly foul, and not helped by trying to learn proper writing later when I was in my twenties. I even bought a hand writing copy book from Sovereign Hill in Ballarat to improve my writing, laboriously copying letters and I think that did help.

I can print a lower case f easily enough but I can't recall how to loop it into a word unless I use old style writing. My f has more of an angle. Sometimes I forget But I never really fully learnt proper old style writing with any sort of skill. Now at times I forget how to form an f or a g.

It is fair to say, I am embarrassed by my handwriting and I try to avoid writing at any opportunity. When checking into a hotel, I always get R to do all the writing. This is my writing on a really good day. If I have to print, it is ever so ugly. At least I got every letter correct. That doesn't always happen.


Does it really matter? How bad is yours? Or, how good is yours?  I would love to write nicely but at my age, it is not a skill that will suddenly spring to the fore. I just bless my keyboard and web based fill in forms.


34 comments:

  1. I think your handwriting show's an 'artistic bent' Andrew! Can you just imagine receiving a handwritten letter from a friend these days, it would be such a treat! My handwriting seems to be a mixture of both printing and cursive, someone once remarked that it was the sign of an 'adventurous' streak..hahahaha! Me who's scared of heights and deep water, they sure got that wrong!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the late 70s and early 80s children were taught a modified cursive style that combined cursive and printing. When we moved to Melbourne my son's new teacher insisted that was wrong and forced him to learn the full cursive that she preferred. We were only going to be there 10 months but she wouldn't allow him to continue the modified version and picked on him the whole time. He hated school from then on and eventually left at 14 and got a job when he turned 15 a couple of weeks later.

      Delete
    2. Grace, the mixture of styles does seem to be a problem of our generation. Yesterday I read an analysis of our PM's handwriting and I really don't believe in such stuff. But she doesn't dot her 'i'. Interesting she knitted a pair of baby booties for broadcaster Fifi Box.

      Delete
    3. River, did that muck his handwriting for ever? People of my Mother's generation nearly always write well.

      Delete
    4. I don't recall, I haven't seen M's writing for years now. I know he printed a lot when he was in High School, I have a folder of his Haikus and it's reasonably neat and legible. I don't know if he used cursive in Primary School once we arrived in Adelaide. He seemed to settle down but was disillusioned with school and teachers. Before that Melbourne teacher, he loved school.

      Delete
  2. Attractive writing, Andrew!

    I got seriously whacked on the back of the calves with a ruler... not for any academic flaw but because I didn't create the socks we had to produce for Knitting Class (my grandmother did). I think violence and fear were endemic in primary schools back then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I said Hels, that was on a good day. Yes, and I don't want to go back to those days, but I think discipline could be a little tighter now.

      Delete
    2. I wonder exactly what method of writing is taught these days in school..anyone know?

      Delete
    3. Grace, writing? taught? You are making a joke. I think the learn to print and that is far as it goes. I noticed Little Jo does not do the big letters and the little letters, but immediately was referring to them as say, c and C.

      Delete
  3. My writing is okay if I try, but usually pretty scratchy. Though I do love writing with the stylus on my tablet, as it then converts it into typing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fen, I just think my writing is so ugly. I think our phones have some sort of writing recognition?

      Delete
  4. PS - your writing is actually really nice in that example.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice writing! You loop your"fs" to the left like a g instead of to the right like in old style examples. I do the same thing. It just flows more naturally that way, to me anyway.
    My writing is okay if I take my time, but usually my hand races ahead of my thoughts and what starts out legible ends up as chicken scratches, even I have trouble deciphering them later. My printing is better, but the same thing happens. Good beginnings followed by scrawls. I have real trouble with the written "r" when fitting it into a word. I must have been gazing out the window the day they taught those.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do I River? I wasn't aware of that. My father and Tradie Brother write upside down, with their hands above the writing. I have been known to not be able to read the shopping list I wrote. Like you, mine starts out not so bad, but quickly falls apart and my hand aches after a couple of minutes.

      Delete
    2. I can do that hand above the writing thing, also the backhanded slope, the extreme forward slope, straight up and down...I've written notes and jokes on the lunchroom whiteboard and nobody knows it is me because I use different styles. If they checked the fs and capital As they'd know.

      Delete
  6. Your handwriting is fine, Andrew. Thanks to you and River I now understand why my brother writes the letter f with a back-to-front loop - rather practical, really.

    Your grandmother knitted your socks, Hels? I had to make a "petticoat" on a treadle machine, with no help from anyone. By the time I'd finished it was a handkerchief.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS - I used to love going to work and turning over a new page of the desk calendar - every day there was a new something to cogitate on at the bottom :)

      [Urban myth - the way I heard it, Gloria was sick on a Saturday night, and it wasn't a transit van.]

      Delete
    2. FC, I wish I had the wherewithal to examine effs, but they all look the same to me. Lol re Gloria.

      Delete
  7. Writing needs to be all about legibility. It seems to qualify as a doctor you must have the most illegible writing possible. Thank heavens medical prescriptions are now printed from computers to prevent the numerous errors that chemists made trying to transcribe the doctor's writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fun60, I always thought chemists always understood what doctors had written perfectly, like a secret code between them. The prescription induced deaths from the time tell a different story.

      Delete
  8. I think your handwriting is rather nice - all loopy which looks friendly and open.

    I used to be a rather neat (and small) printer but it's all gone to flyblown scrawls seeing as I now only write shopping lists and diary entries...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kath, I hated people who could write small and neat. Good to hear it went to the wall.

      Delete
  9. Handwriting is a lost art these days ... so I don't think it much matters what it looks like. If you're self-conscious about it, just repeat this mantra: 'My handwriting is a unique and individual expression of my personality that the reader should therefore be privileged to see'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice words Red. My personality is on show via my handwriting. That is not good.

      Delete
  10. I'm old enough to have learned Copperplate. We had copy books and nib pens and twin desks with shared inkwells in my first few years of primary school. My handwriting is still okay if I bother, which I usually do with my diaries.

    A boyfriend in the 1980s was five years younger. He wrote long letters when we were apart. They were on fine airmail paper, written in blue ink ... in capital letters. His 'running writing' wasn't assured so he didn't tend to use it. It always struck me as odd. Perhaps he fell into the cursive chasm?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that Pants, the cursive chasm. Yes, I had experienced ink pens too. Mostly fountain pens, but I did experiment with nib pens. They always stuck into the Canite ceilings with an unerring grip. There was one primary year when some were using nib pens, some fountain pens and some Bic biros. Re your brother, I recall resorting to similar to your brother to cover up my inadequate writing.

      Delete
  11. Throughout my teaching career I had to teach many different handwriting styles depending in which country or state that I was teaching. This played havoc with my own writing which became a mixture of all styles. However the best and easiest style to teach and to read is the modified cursive, which cut out all the loops the fi doesn't have a loops unless it is double f then the second one does. If your arm or hand aches when you write it means that you are not holding the pen correctly probably gripping it too tightly. The knuckles should be rounded and loose not tightly pointed. There is your cursive lesson for today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane, yes I do hold the pen too tightly, but essentially my hand aches because it is not used to writing.

      Delete
  12. One thing I noticed long ago about writing is this - you can tell a doctor by his/her writing. It is always illegible. My mother had the most beautiful copperplate handwriting which I alas, could never do.

    We wrote with chalk on blackboards then graduated to pen and ink. Dip in pens with an inkwell. Always ink blots on my page I'm afraid. And blotting paper. WE did learn cursive writing though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BFG, ink was messy, very messy. As I said, people of a certain age certainly wrote well. I had forgotten those little personal blackboards.

      Delete
  13. You are so right !! Teachers at that time were all sadists ! It was not allowed to beat children anymore, but they found other means ! Fortunately I belonged to the once who didn't care and was a nightmare for teachers, lol !
    I don't care about my handwriting, I seldom write, not because my handwriting is ugly, but typing is quicker and everybody is able to read what I write !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gattina, I can't say all were, but quite a number were sadists. Typing is much quicker and no crossings out.

      Delete
  14. I'm left handed and although it was still the practice to change left handers to right handers when I was growing up my school did not attempt to do so with me.

    No allowance was made for my left handedness however and I used to be placed on detention for smudging the ink as my hand passed over what i had just written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victor, it is strange that no-one tried to correct you. R was certainly corrected. He is now ambidextrous, which is quite useful at times. Yes, I can see how the ink would be smudged. How could it not be?

      Delete