One of my “nieces” received her copy of my firstborn novel earlier today, and the first thing she noticed about it, and the first thing she mentioned to me when she showed off the pictures of the dedication and autograph was my penmanship.
“You have very nice handwriting, Unk.”
It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard that compliment about my handwriting, but it never gets old, and I never stop smiling when I’m complimented on it. Hell, somewhere in my IG feed is a picture of what my handwriting looks like, and those who have purchased any book in my catalog from me personally know what my handwriting looks like. It is a source of pride for me; hours and hours of practicing to get the flow just right, not to mention the flourish when and where necessary when it came to my legal signature and, most recently, my autograph.
But it got us into a different conversation about how handwriting is a lost art, about how something as simple as writing a letter to someone has been taken for granted in this instant gratification society of email and e-fax. I still have a slew of manuscripts that were handwritten by me that go back as far as high school, when I first started learning how to put a story together in a more comprehensive fashion (note to self: dig out those manuscripts to see if they will work with this YA kick I’m on right now).
There’s a certain intimacy that comes from putting pen to paper, and any literary creative will tell you that there is nothing more romantic, more erotic, than being able to use their God-given gift to put words together in such a fashion as to evoke any and every emotion in the spectrum and to have the reader feel the words that flow from the pen, literally and figuratively. I’d be so bold as to say that typing or writing the words “THE END” is an orgasmic-level event in and of itself.
But it doesn’t always have to be a book or a poem. Just being able to have the ability to write down your thoughts and feelings and send that piece of yourself for someone else to read over and over again, or to go back inside your journals to read about a time gone by, there is something magical about that, too. Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but a thousand heartfelt and passionate words that have been captured and preserved is damn near priceless.
Yes, I might be biased, and you’re probably right.
But if you pull out a letter from your grandmother or your grandfather after they’ve long left this existence, or you take a look at words your child wrote for you when they were little after they’ve left the house and begun their own journey into adulthood, I think you’ll realize that there might be something to what I’m saying right now.
Thanks for listening. I have more words to write out.