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Handwritten is a place and space for pen and paper. We showcase things in handwriting, but also on handwriting. And so, you'll see dated letters and distant postcards alongside recent studies and typed stories. 

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Filtering by Tag: Cursive

Neat, Cursive, Normal, Lefty • Chelsea Florio

Brett Rawson

BY CHELSEA FLORIO

For as long as I can remember, I have loved language. Whether it's studying foreign languages (from Arabic to Elvish) or learning the rules of my native tongue (English) and playfully finding new ways to break them, I am completely enthralled with learning about the ways people communicate.

Above and below are journal entries spanning the last several years in which I played around with writing in new ways. Many of them are my attempts to learn how to write left-handed because I've always seen ambidexterity as one of the neatest skills on the planet. Interspersed are my attempts at learning Morse code, which I find to be a delightfully mysterious and pretty much forgotten form of clandestine communication. Neither of the skills I've been trying to acquire when very bored are really that practical, but it's a fun way to pass the time. 

You Can Stop Cursing at Cursive Writing Now • A Handwritten Review

Brett Rawson

HANDLED BY HANDWRITTEN

Meet Linda Shrewsbury and Prisca LeCroy, the mother-daughter team who has changed the world of cursive writing. Literally and figuratively, they have reshaped the way children, and adults, learn cursive writing: not in alphabetical order, but by shape. And in less than one week, their second campaign comes to a close. Their first, a Kickstarter last year, was successfully funded and raised $33,000.

This helped bring CursiveLogic, the workbook you see below, into existence, and now, Shrewsbury and LeCroy are set on taking it into the classroom with their new campaign, Cursive2Class. 

What exactly is CursiveLogic's method? It reorders the alphabet into four shape-groups (oval, loop, swing, and mound), color-codes them with visual and audio cues, and fits into a single workbook that has — prepare yourself for this — regular paper and dry erase worksheets. Heaven, we know. Whereas old models required students to sit in place and etch the alphabet in order and silence onto recycled and photocopied sheets of paper, this four-lesson workbook takes students through each similarly-shaped group of letters, while at the same time teaching how to write full-length words. This model, workbook, and business is the absolute example of how, coupled with new technologies, we are finding more effective ways of teaching children the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary for cognitive development.

This is the answer the core curriculum has been waiting for, not to mention Town Hall Meetings and online forums. Cursive writing has been disappearing from the classrooms, but that is because the way it was being taught had not changed with the ways in which students are learning, and expected to learn, in the twenty-first century. We are preparing students for jobs that don't exist yet because we are still inventing them. But the thing most people don't see is that when cursive handwriting goes, a lot of other things we cannot see or feel vanish with it as well, including reading comprehension, articulation, writing and sensory motor skills. 

The old model wasn't working. We live in a technological world, and one that is constantly changing, which means we have to change with it. And CursiveLogic is not just keeping up, but it is ahead of the curve: they have side-stepped the political impasse and built their own business, a patent-pending approach, in fact, and instead of arguing back and forth with adults, they were sitting down with students and watching them work. Ever since their model surfaced, they have been gaining support from handwriting experts, educators, politicians, psychologists, and scientists around the country. 

You might be thinking, this looks great, but not for me. We understand not everyone will want to relearn cursive writing, though we actually encourage you to do so (we have bought their workbooks and are going through it ourselves), but there is still something you can do: spread the word, sponsor a workbook, and help CursiveLogic make its way into the classroom. Join us and participate in their Indiegogo Campaign. We selected the "Get One and Give One" option, which we recommend, but if you want to Give Two, then do your thing.

The next time you hear someone up in arms about cursive writing, you can pat them on the shoulder, hold the cursive book you bring with you everywhere just in case you feel the urge to loop or swirl, and say, "You can stop cursing at cursive writing now." 

Follow the links below to help support the remaining days of their campaign (Cursive2Class) and help a kid. Spread the love by liking them on Facebook, and check out their story in their words.

Cursive2Class Campaign.

Facebook | CursiveLogic | Cursive2Class

No Other Place Publishes Process • The Origins of Handwritten

Brett Rawson

In early Spring of 2015, Sarah Madges set out on a project surrounding the Handwritten word and recalled Brett mentioning a project he had recently begun. She reached out to ask if the project was still alive. It was, barely. The exchange served to reignite the project and has since turned into this site, which Sarah is also to thank for, as she since came on board as a central curator for the project. Below is their initial exchange about the idea for the site you are seeing today, which is constantly evolving. 

SARAH MADGES: What inspired you to develop a publication/project surrounding the handwritten word? What is your own experience with handwriting?

BRETT RAWSON: I knew I wanted to start something last winter. I took a course at The New School that had us look at digital storytelling, and I found great calm mixed with wild energy in this embrace of and attitude toward technology - how can we use technology to promote our passions, digital or otherwise? On a morning in February, I was on the L train brainstorming for a separate project when the word Handwritten appeared from somewhere. I had my notebook in hand so I scribbled it down. I happened to be heading toward a workshop put on by PEN, so I wonder if that had something to do with the whole thought. At any rate, the word opened up the idea itself: a home for the handwritten word online. 

There is no place that publishes things other than finished products. I wanted to promote process. There's a bunch of theories and thoughts about handwriting, penmanship, and personalities. I do think about them, and I care about them, but I am not specifically concerned about them. I don't really care much about their outcomes or conclusions. For example, I find it interesting what people think my handwriting says about me, but I care more about saying things with and through my handwriting. What comes of it in the end is not really something I can consider while I am doing it. 

The idea is pretty simple—for people to express themselves with pen and paper, and be published for it. It's also to be a preserve of sorts—for letters written by those who have passed, for example. I am always writing by hand. I don't always write my stories by hand, though most things usually begin on paper—in a journal, on a napkin, or a legal pad. I do, however, write a lot of letters. It's how I ease myself into writing for the day. I can't jump into writing on the computer without starting by hand. I have to start somewhere free. In this sense, it's like stretching, doing yoga, starting out slow, or warming up. 

MADGES: What is the project's mission statement? 

RAWSON: A place in space for pen and paper. But I have been thinking about changing it to something a mentor of mine once said: writing is a physical activity. 

MADGES: Are you concerned that handwriting / cursive lessons are being eclipsed by keyboard proficiency lessons in U.S. elementary schools?

RAWSON: I'm not so sure I am that worried about cursive. But that's probably because mine is horrific. In fact, my regular handwriting sort of looks cursive. Or maybe it looks like it is cursing. It's hard to tell. Someone once said my handwriting looks like a string of wasted wingding characters, which is offensive, but true. But handwriting altogether, what a horrific waste of natural talent. The hand is how we gain access to our inner self. I really don't think the computer can access that wild, raw energy inside each of us. When using a computer, I get an external feeling (usually in the form of mild swells of panic), whereas when I write by hand, the noise from everywhere really quiets down, and I can finally hear my own voice.

The people making these policies, or mistakes, probably don't write by hand much. I imagine they see it as a waste of time, or something of the past, that we should get with the times and technology. This measurement feels imprecise. And it isn't a matter of sentimentality. It also isn't about one or the other. I wonder when people will wake up and coexist - to stop living in some world of ones. I write on the computer all the time. I have four twitter accounts, a Facebook profile, page, and group, five Instagram accounts, one tumblr, and three websites. You know? It's not like I don't get the beauty and power in the computer, let alone its efficiency, insanity, and amusement. I am a user, and I love using it. But what a fucking mistake to not teach kids how to write by hand. So I guess I am concerned.

MADGES: Do you notice a difference in the kinds of things you write when you use pen/pencil as opposed to a computer / word processor? How do you think the writing tool affects content/style/etc? How do you think it affects the editing process?

RAWSON: Absolutely. The medium affects everything. The effect is also bilateral. The reader adjusts his or her expectations based on the medium. A letter is sort of like dining out—there is an experience to it. An email is more like take-out, delivery, or TV dinner - it is often more quick, requires less from me, and can be done while doing something else. 

That being said, I don't see it as a matter of good or bad, better or worse. It is simply different. Writing by word processor is more about a product or outcome—a finished something—and so pieces composed there are usually toward that end. But with handwriting, it is more so a work of progress, or process. It is, inherently, more private and intimate. Computers are meant to connect, gather, and scatter. And the screen in between becomes a kind of reflection and projection, which can be a disorienting feeling that registers at a deeper level. Handwriting is about process on two levels -- one, it is about the process, but two, it is a way to process things. Not necessarily produce a product. 

MADGES: Phenomenologists have argued that the self falls away when we are engaged in an intense activity, usually one that collapses the sense of the mind-body split by activating both elements. Do you think the writing implement of choice could act as a bodily extension, and that writing by hand helps combine subject and object in ways that promote intimacy with a text, whereas typing into a word document promotes separateness of subject and object?

RAWSON: Fascinating. I imagine this has to be. There is a oneness when it comes to things like painting, the piano, or even running, and so it would make sense that it carries over to hand-writers. It makes me think of meditation for some reason, only I don't really know why. There is intense freedom within limitation, which might be why the computer is such an energy vampire. It pokes so many holes in our concentration containers that after a short period of time, we feel totally drained. Whereas with the handwritten word, I think of a dam and what happens when everything flows through a single thing—it harnesses a new kind of energy. Because with handwriting, you aren't concerned really with what you're writing. There is something hypnotic about the way in which the hands moves. 

MADGES: Anything else you would like to add?

RAWSON: Keep the beautiful pen busy!