HANDLED BY HANDWRITTEN
In January, there are eighty-seven reasons to celebrate. Statistically, that means you should be celebrating 2.81 times every day, or, 78.68 times so far this month. You might not have known that you had so many chances to be festive. Don't worry, neither did we. Tens of opportunities passed us by, which we've come to terms with, but some of the knowledge could have come in handy. For example, on January 6th, we woke up to a feeling of looming aloneness. Had we only known it was National Cuddle Up Day, we could have rolled over, grabbed anything nearby, and clutched it closely. Or when, on January 16th, we had nothing to do that night, who knew we were already observing National Nothing Day? It was, in fact, everyone else who weren't being festive. And knowing now that there are 87 national holidays in January, including the celebration of our spirit animal, Squirrel Appreciation Day, we'll have a much better start to 2017 than 2016.
All this being said, there was one holiday we didn't miss: National Handwriting Day on January 23rd. Here at Handwritten, we hosted an International Handwriting Day, welcoming all the alphabets. We received words, shapes, and characters of all kinds, from invented languages to backwards cursive. But we were one of hundreds celebrating this beautiful day, which is the point of this post: the things others did to celebrate pen, paper, and personalities. And so, here is a list of creative things we came across, but also learned, on this fine day:
CURSIVELOGIC. There is a mother-daughter team in Texas right now that has a patent-pending model for teaching cursive writing. They have, literally and figuratively, reshaped the way we learn cursive writing. We wrote about them before (You Can Stop Cursing at Cursive Now), but on National Handwriting Day, they once again did something great: they paired together with Boy Scouts of America and hosted a day of promise for the pen and paper. Students and families in the Dallas-Fort Worth area joined in on the festivities, where they had the opportunity to learn cursive, examine historical documents written in cursive, and hand-write letters to loved ones. Volunteers at the event included Dallie Clark from Collin College (who is creating an exhibit dedicated to the letter) and the manager of Paradise Pen. You can read more here.
GREER CHICAGO. In Chicago, Greer hosted their first annual Instagram Write-Off, "honoring the magical intersection of pen, paper, hand and thought." To enter, people had to: write a quote from Isaac Asimov ("Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers") and post to Instagram with the hashtag #greerchicagowriteoff and a hashtag for the category they were entering: #cursive, #print, or #freestyle. Each entrant had the chance to win some pretty sweet swag, all of which was decided by a panelist of prolific people of the pen, one of whom (Kathy Zadrozny) is from Letter Writers Alliance, another beautiful site that serves to give people the resources online to get them offline.
MOLESKINE. One of our favorites, Moleskine, hosted a handwritten tweet-off: anyone that hand-wrote a tweet with the hashtags #moleskin or #handwritingday appeared in their online gallery. And Fun Facts: Debra Messing, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Bruce Willis joined in the ink. But fame aside, one of our favorites from the hand-tweets:
EMMA HEMING-WILLIS. Relatedly, Emma Heming-Willis joined in on the celebration of pen and paper by blogging about the impact of writing by hand in her daily life, but also why she holds onto so many pieces from the past. And for those who haven't ventured into daily episodes of writing by hand, Emma suggests a few of her favorite brands as possible entrance stones for those in need of a little direction. Below, Emma shared with us two images from what her family wrote on National Handwriting Day, including a call to action by Bruce Willis for southpaws to stick together, and a note from Emma about seeing her daughter Mabel write her own name on paper.
Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association. While WIMA did not do anything this year, we have them to thank for the holiday, as they were the ones who started it in 1977, says International Business article. Side note: IB also encouraged people to partake in the day in five ways, encouraging people to explore their creativity, using the handwritten word to express feelings sometimes lost in the cloud of our lives. To find out more about WIMA, follow them on Facebook or go to their great domain name (www.pencilsandpens.org), but if you're more curious about history, then go over to History for A Brief History of Penmanship.
AMERICAN HANDWRITING ANALYSIS FOUNDATION. The AHA's arm-span reached into 16 states and 9 countries this year, culminating in their campaign to bring cursive writing back into the classroom. A short snippet of their announcement: "Members of the Campaign for Cursive (C4C), part of the nonprofit American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, are sponsoring 60 global events, articles and interviews in 16 US states and 9 countries. A growing grassroots effort, C4C has been gathering momentum in its quest to focus attention on the importance of returning cursive handwriting instruction to public schools." You can follow and like them on Facebook, read more about this Campaign for Cursive here, or the Campaign for the Right to Handwrite here.
NATIONAL WWI MUSEUM AND MEMORIAL. The National World War I Museum and Memorial brought out four letters from their archives to celebrate, which you can see here. And this is what they had to say about the day: "Penmanship is a true art form and one very identifiable way of expressing ourselves in the day-to-day. On #NationalHandwritingDay, enjoy these beautiful examples from the Museum archives. We hope you're inspired to pick up a pen and write a letter!" We agree with a whole heart.
FOXNEWS. And coming in at Number 10, even though there are only 7 others, is FoxNews. Even they decided to participate by testing their penmanship, which actually surprised us because we hadn't really thought of that news outlet, or any for that matter, as one to engage in the act of self-reflection. But, that they did: three anchors scribbled a sentence onto a chalkboard, which was then analyzed by handwriting expert, Kathi McKnight. One of the takeaways? If you leave little spacing between your written words, you manage your time poorly; whereas, if you have even spacing, you are aware of boundaries. Let's see how far they take this takeaway.
Jokes and jabs aside, if you are curious about what you can do from now on to prepare for next year's National Handwriting Day, here's one great idea: check out our partners, Sketchbook Project, and either sign up for a sketchbook yourself, or send one to a friend who you know would benefit by the gift of energy and ideas. We received a Sketchbook this past year, which gave us a sense of purpose we didn't see coming. There are a few days left to register: give the gift of inspiration to that creative you know, even if it is yourself, and join the 162,010 others in the world who have participated to the passion.
Whatever you choose to do from here on out, whether it's celebrating an observed or unobserved holiday, keep that beautiful pen busy, planet.