The lost art of handwriting is one of the few ways we can uniquely express ourselves. There’s something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words. So, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) suggests you take advantage of National Handwriting Day on January 23 and use a pen or a pencil to rekindle that creative feeling through a handwritten note, poem, letter or journal entry.
In the days before typing, penmanship wasn’t about creativity. Writing had to be neat and consistent from writer to writer so that anyone could read it. Sir Joseph Porter, first lord of the Admiralty, was a successful clerk who became ruler of the queen’s navy because he could “copy all the letters in a big round hand.” (הכוונה היא לדמות באופרטה “הפינפור” של גילברט וסליבן) Schools emphasized penmanship because they saw themselves as training the next generation of letter copiers, not the next generation of poets.
Handwriting only became a badge of individuality once it was no longer an essential writing technology. That had happened in the U.S. by the 1930s with the rise of the typewriter. In 1932, researchers even demonstrated that children learned better and faster with typewriters on their desks, but schools stuck with pencils.