I haven’t tried this in years

Trotting out the old Elizabeth icon for the occasion:

I had the wrong setting on my camera, so it’s unfortunately blurry, but you get the idea. I am so. doomed. I haven’t tried to write in cursive, except for that thing I laughably call my signature, for years.

Admittedly, my writing got better when I realized that a tiny notebook is a very bad choice for hand support and such. Practicing on better surfaces, and relaxing into it a bit, the result looks less awkward. Of course, if I relax into it, I’m prone to turning my n’s into m’s and my m’s into some alien thing with far too many little humps . . . which is only the most common of my errors. There are others, too. The letters I send may have more than a few things crossed out and corrected. (Which is part of the whole handwritten letter thing, right? Not everybody bothered to send perfect copy. I guess it all depends on which character I’m writing as. Dead Rick probably doesn’t worry much about errors. Delphia, however . . . .)

0 Responses to “I haven’t tried this in years”

  1. Marie Brennan

    I was trying very very hard to make it legible. 🙂 The people I send these letters to may complain if they can’t read the result . . . .

  2. bookblather

    Oh, man, no pressure was intended by that comment! I just love the idea of getting a letter from Delphia SO MUCH that I would want to frame it and cuddle it and call it George. It doesn’t have to actually look good at all. 😀

  3. teleidoplex

    I… wow. That’s really bad. 😛

    I will act as secretary for you if you want. I have lovely penmanship.

  4. tekalynn

    That’s quite legible, admirably so, especially since you used a quill pen! Your cursive looks fine to me.

    I mostly use cursive when writing out Portuguese verb conjugations longhand, something I haven’t done for a while. It’s a meditative sort of practice.

    • Marie Brennan

      It’s getting better with practice. The real challenge now is trying to differentiate a couple of styles, so that I can change the look depending on which character it’s supposed to be. (Well, that and avoiding errors.)

  5. aishabintjamil

    Well, depending on how much time you have to spare, and how evil you’re feeling, you could try to use period scripts instead of modern cursive. I have a friend who does amazing manuscript illumination, and he’s very proud of one effort which is done in a 16th century court hand which is both beautiful and nearly impossible to decipher.

    The plus side of calligraphy is that it’s not really writing – it’s more like drawing letters. I have execrable handwriting, but can do several passable calligraphy hands.

    I haven’t settled on who to write me letter to yet, but one will certainly be coming. Now I’m tempted to pull out a pen myself for my letter, although in my case it will have to be a metal nib.

    • Marie Brennan

      Don’t think I haven’t considered it. <g> But even if I could produce secretary hand or whatever, I think people would like to be able to read the letters I sent them.

      Edited to add: also, the lines in the pic above misrepresent my choice of pen. It’s a dip pen with a steel nib, not an actual quill pen. I just tend to think of it by that name because the body of the pen is a feather. (But for this exchange, I’m more likely to use my Venetian glass dip pen, because it’s more comfortable and has a better nib on it.)

      • aishabintjamil

        Well, I did preface the suggestion by saying if you were feeling evil….

        Of course when my friend presented that particular piece of art to its recipient, he did include a typed cheat sheet.

        • Marie Brennan

          Heh. Yeah, that would be necessary.

          I’ve done calligraphy before, though I’m even rustier on that than I am on cursive. But it’s slow enough that I think I’d prefer to go for something more natural.

        • aishabintjamil

          I have some friends who ado completely authentic medieval illumination – quill pens, hand-constructed animal hair brushes, and hand ground pigments. It’s amazing, but I decided to stick with my gouache and modern inks when the teacher said “Now, these pigments you should really grind and mix inside a fume hood, because they’re very toxic…” I can’t manage a real quill either – my hand is too heavy. It survives for about 3 letters and turns into mush.

  6. vanatoomas

    I have received a printout note instead of the handwritten letter promised to me from 2 separate IT persons over the last decade.

    Both men had been avid penpal correspondents as teens, so they had not anticipated the problem of their hands getting cramp from attempting to handwrite.

    Who knew that muscles needed for handwriting can degenerate when not used just like any other muscles?!

    May-be it would easier for you to rewrite the characters to have a bit more sloppy, tricky to understand handwriting?

    • Marie Brennan

      It’s a bit hard to rewrite the characters when the books are on the shelves. <g> But some of them will be sloppier than others, yeah.

      You’re right about the muscles degenerating. I still write enough by hand that I don’t have a huge problem — though I do cramp up if I go for too long — it’s just that most of my writing is print, not cursive.

  7. kendokamel

    That looks fine to me!

  8. shui_long

    You might find this of interest:

    Lisa Jardine on letter-writing (BBC)

  9. Anonymous

    Did you see

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