In 2013 a 500 year old love letter was found with the mummified body of a man, the timeless words of a bereaved young wife more heartbreaking because they are written in her own hand. http://www.viralnova.com/lost-love-letter/
We can imagine her tears as the writing instrument moved across the paper, expressing her deepest sorrow. “How could you pass away without me? Who should I and our little boy listen to and how should we live? How could you go ahead of me? How did you bring your heart to me and how did I bring my heart to you?” Somehow, the printed text is not quite as ‘real’ as the words penned on a piece of parchment. The same emotions are expressed, but the ink flowing from the pen the writer holds in her own hand makes them present in a way they are not when typed on a cold keyboard.
As a handwriting analyst, letters mean something different to me than to the average person. For me, a handwritten letter is much more than just the words on the page. The handwriting is a portrait of the writer’s personality—their social style, thought processes, ego strength; where their fears and defenses come from, their sexuality, their approach to life.
But handwriting, and its ability to speak to the reader in its unique way, is in danger. More than forty-five states have adopted the Common Core Curriculum, which removes the requirement for public schools to teach cursive handwriting. Many children these days cannot even sign their own name or read a letter from grandma. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that several states, seeing the importance of this special skill, have passed bills returning handwriting training to the curriculum. As president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, I am immensely proud of the efforts of our Campaign for Cursive team (www.cursiveiscool.com), which is working tirelessly to fire up a grassroots movement and share the word about the many reasons why handwriting training is so important. We are partnering with companies and organizations around the world and are already planning for the first International Handwriting Day, January 23rd, 2016. Chosen by the Writing Instrument Manufacturer’s Association because January 23rd is the birthday of John Hancock, whose bold signature stands out on the Declaration of Independence, this date has been celebrated as National Handwriting Day since the early 1980s. But as the world has shrunk and it has become easier to reach out and touch people everywhere, the time has come to be more inclusive.
We can all make a difference in small ways. For example, once in a while, instead of emailing or texting, handwrite a letter to someone you love. Those letters will remain long after you and I are gone. And they will leave a legacy that contains, not just your words, but a piece of your soul.
Sheila Lowe is a court-qualified forensic handwriting analyst who has been studying handwriting for more than 45 years. She is the author of the Claudia Rose Forensic Handwriting mystery series and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis. www.sheilalowe.com
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