Thursday, May 26, 2011


While we're looking at script signage for: The Chandelier in New Jersey, restaurants in New Orleans, and awnings up the river, I want to note the April 28, 2011 article in The New York Times about cursive writing. Actually, it was really more an article about the loss of cursive. Handwriting often isn't taught in schools past third grade. Kids don't / won't / can't read it. The article noted that the inability to read cursive was like losing a link to the past. One of my nieces in California noted that cursive always seemed like a foreign language to her. Like my niece, some folks don't miss cursive, but one reply to the article eloquently noted the intellectual and cultural importance of being able to decipher cursive.

One cursive that delighted me lately is a combination of lovely and mildly neurotic on the jacket for Enough About Love (clever visual pun with the "O"s, too).

I neglected to note the jacket designer when I shot the photo of and trips to a number of stores and internet sites yield no credit. Help! Is anybody out there a more diligent reporter? In an unusual turn of events, I can find the name of the book's interior design (Simon Sullivan) but not of the jacket design.

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My most recent favorite memoir, Running the Books, contains some wonderful notes about hand-writing. Here are a few scraps of lines about notes hand-written by inmates in Boston's House of Correction in South Bay:

"I unfolded the note. In razor-sharp cursive, in a script known as the "Felon's Claw"—which I suspect belonged to Whiz . . . "

"It seemed brutal to trash a letter than someone had taken the time to handwrite. And there was part of me that thought, Who knows, maybe these letters will be important to someone in the future? I majored in history and literature, and wrote newspaper obituaries. I spent many hours looking at letters and artifacts that some oddball had decided not to throw out. There is no history, no memory, without this."

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"Taking the time to handwrite" is becoming more special, not to mention specialized.

I wonder: is the felon's claw close to the lover's scrawl?


Suzanne Dell'Orto said...

I was taught cursive in 3rd grade using a fountain pen. It was only after 5th grade that we advanced to ballpoint!

I believe the lover's scrawl is a close relative to the sad breakup poetry cursive, aka The Sadsack Scribble.

Beth Tondreau said...

In the 5th grade, did you miss the thick and thin lines?

As for The Sadsack Scribble, I think you're on to something. A new hand-drawn face?

A while back, I realized that real writers always have something to say, whereas wannabes merely scribble sadly when love and life go awry.