Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Flourish of Cursive Writing

"Machines (referring to a typewriter) have no grace.  It cannot make a flourish, vary the thickness of a line, or tantalize the reader with a lapse into an in decipherable but lovely style.  A good penman can make rivers that race to the sea, rivers as wild and dizzy as a flume in the Alps, as choppy as the Isarco, as wide and smooth as the Tiber at Ostia, or as deep as the Po where it rolls into the Adriatic."                                   - from A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin.

During my life, this functional art form has helped my writing bloom.  Each artful loop, whirl, tie and tail I learned from a father patient with a perfectionist's eye.  I observed the writing of teachers and friends to adapt my style.  It continues to blossom.

For writers, cursive writing inspires both a meditative state and a way to access both sides of the brain for productive results.  The hand moves to stimulate the brain's logical side. Letters form words in artful flow from the right side's intuitive cells. Integration of both sides occurs as a result.

Writers need to feel the elegance of writing with a fountain pen and see its splash of color.

Since childhood, I've considered fountain pens my ponies.  My mind has ridden bareback.  Without use of a bridle or saddle, a variety of pens behave with finger pressure.  Turquoise, emerald, magenta and sunshine flow from my thoroughbreds, morgans, quarters and an Arabian or trail pony.  The mustangs and stallions often buck the surface for new ideas.  Lippizans dance their air ballet.

These fountain pony pens combine with textured paper to push a progression of ideas. Ink on both rough and slick surfaces increases in speed for creativity capture. It slows to corral emotions and thoughts to ponder. Movement to cross a T or dot an i stays fluid without breaking the spell of rhythm and progress.

Cursive writing adds a magical quality to the writing process. 

Creative Write:  Recall how you first learned cursive writing.  If you handwrite in a journal or prepare initial drafts by handwriting first, consider in what ways it differs from composing on a keyboard. Have you transitioned from creating in handwriting to keyboard creating?  Do you go back and forth?

Handwrite a favorite passage or poem with a rollerball or fountain pen. Take time to form the letters, find a rhythm and feel the flow. Write about this process.

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