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Conversations About Handwriting

One of the most beloved items of Maswood Khan's childhood was a red fountain pen, he tells readers in an opinion piece for The Financial Express, waxing nostalgic about the days when he wrote and received handwritten letters.

Among many things and habits, which are fast vanishing from our life in the whirlpool of modernity with computers and keyboards whirring and clicking, billions of cell phones buzzing with text messages and the nerds gabbling in net chatting, is the cool sight of a fountain pen beside a bottle of ink placed on a writing desk and the tradition of penning an elegant and polite letter in softie handwriting. Nothing can express one's admiration for another like a handwritten letter. No love e-mail, text message or cell phone call will ever be as fondly and carefully bundled into a memory box as priceless treasures and savored for years to come.

Khan says he feels bad for children who don't get to enjoy the sensations of writing by hand and instead have to use a "mechanical keyboard that vomits the desiccated words on a monitor that glares with punishing lights."

Tired of playing phone tag with his son living in Canada and not satisfied with the occasional text or email, Khan has written him a letter and asked for one in return.

We hope he gets it.

Have a passion for writing by hand? Then maybe you have a career in calligraphy ahead of you, like Janet Lorence, of New Harmony Indiana. But you'll really, really need to like writing, as she explains to the Evansville Courier Press.

"I went to a Catholic school. I always remember the kids that were bad had to write the dictionary, say a page of a dictionary 25 times or something," said Lorence, "I always envied them, so I'd go home and write the dictionary, not because I was bad, but because I liked to write."

She explains that the trick to good calligraphy is understanding pen grip and family dynamics.

"You want to learn not to clench the pen, you want to hold it kind of lightly, but one of the things about writing the different styles is the way the angle that you hold the pen at...When you are learning you always want to keep your pen at that angle, that is what makes the thicks and thins land where they go."

"You kinda dissect it like the characteristics in a family, how is that person related to the other person in the family," said Lorence, "You want to keep your letters looking like they relate to each other."

Unfortunately, calligraphy is not particularly lucrative, but you're work can end up in some interesting places. According to the newspaper, the Dalai Lama, composer Leonard Bernstein and former American President George H.W. Bush have all received items bearing her handwriting.

A newspaper in Fayetteville, North Carolina, home to the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Div. did something a little unique for Valentine's Day.

A handwritten love letter is a token of affection no e-mail can match. It’s such an intimate way of showing adoration that it can never be replaced. But in this digital age, the handwritten love letter is a fading gesture. For Valentine’s Day, we collected a sampling of love stories told the old-fashioned way.

Soldiers and their wives shared the letters they've written back and forth during courtships and long separations. One couple has saved every letter they've ever written each other and keep them in an old suitcase. The wife summed up perfectly one of the great things about handwritten letters – that they can sometimes serve as a bridge between past and present.

"I can just imagine a hundred years from now our grandchildren going through these."

Some of the letters excerpted are pretty sweet. If you need a lift, we recommend you give them a read.

Speaking of love letters, you can get some pointers on how to craft romantic missives from My Bangalore, which gives a point-by-point breakdown of the Dos and Don'ts. Among them were these interesting suggestions:

Avoid being casual, too light-hearted, or openly erotic. A Love Letter is a letter of respect that coveys deep, difficult-to-express feelings. Don't discount the impact of poetry in place of, or in addition to, your words. Maybe your beloved has a favorite author or poet. It will be seen as a compliment if you take the time to quote someone he/she admires.
Be real. Your Love Letter should be a carefully crafted work of art, but it also needs to sound sincere. You want your Love Letter to make your beloved fall in love, not fall into laughter.

Be expressive, but at the same time be honest. Tell them out of the world sentences like, ‘I miss you like I miss my childhood.'

Guys, unsure about whether it's worth the effort? According to the article, chances are good that she'll appreciate getting that envelope from you.

In a recent study done by Lindt Lindor chocolates in the United Kingdom, 78 per cent of the women surveyed said they’d like to receive a handwritten letter, only 50 per cent of the men admitted to ever having written one.

If you decide to give it a try, we suggest that you write your letter on good stock stationery and use a fountain pen, one with an italic nib if you have it. Your letter will just look so much more romantic that way.

2 thoughts on “Conversations About Handwriting”

  • bob

    I recently received a short note from my eldest son enclosing a cheque reimbursing me for some tickets. He had added a few lines of, telling me about life in his new job and also saying how odd it felt not to email. Like Maswood, I penned a letter back (decent fountain pen and ink) a couple of pages long relating a couple of tales etc. I fear that the receipt of such a document has caused a temporary paralysis there has been silence from his neck of the woods. Maswood - don't hold your breath about a reply!

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