Most of my writing these days is done via email or via notes to myself on Word or Notebook. Even my to-do lists are online, thanks to Gmail’s Tasks list option. On the rare occasion I do have to write something down, say when I’m dashing off a quick note to myself regarding a plot point or something I have to fix on a video, I have two containers of pens on my desk that I turn to. One’s a printed tin that came filled with Christmas cookies from one of the boys’ school fundraisers. The other one is a plastic multi-purpose holder that has a pen holder, along with several slots for post-it notes and stamps, etc. Both are overflowing with various pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, etc. Naturally enough, whenever I REALLY need a pen – like when I’m on the phone and have to write something down in a hurry – the pen decides to run out of ink.

I’ve gathered a few pens from the various conferences I’ve attended; Gizmo Guy also has a stash from the company he used to work for since they gave them out to their clients. They’re okay in a pinch, though the straight pens usually give uneven coverage. But when it comes to signing anything special or personal – my two contracts, for instance, or even yesterday, when I was writing up an envelope for Natasha who responded to yesterday’s post about my new Personal Protection bookmarks, I use a very special pen.

It’s part of a set Gizmo Guy gave me a few years back (I rarely use the pencil. The reason he bought me the set is the thing in the middle which can be inserted in the pencil and used as a stylus for PDAs – which I no longer use.) But that pen? I treasure it. I get into panics when I can’t find it. I love the feel of the brushed gold in my fingers, the squishiness of the grip that molds to my fingers while I’m writing. (What a fantastic invention) I love how the ink smoothly rolls from the ball at the tip when I’m writing, something cheap ball points never satisfactorily manage. There’s a weight to it too, so it feels like whatever I’m writing has substance, whether it does or not. When I hold it, I try to slow my writing down, make those perfect Os and Rs and Bs that I spent hours perfecting in grade school. My Ls take on an extra flourish.

I know my sons both learned cursive writing in school, but I don’t think they ever spent the time, the energy, that people of my generation (boy this really makes me feel old) writing lines and lines of each letter, filling pages and pages of a notebook specifically dedicated to penmanship. I remember having lessons even in grade 7 to improve our handwriting. I also remember moving from up near Ottawa in grade 2 and being surprised to discover that my new school expected us to write our letters differently than they did at my old school.

Now I’ll never give up my computer for writing my manuscripts. I can type almost 100 words a minute, there’s no way I can write as fast as I can type. And my brain often outstrips my fingers even when they’re typing. But still, there’s nothing quite like receiving a note someone’s taken the time to write out by hand. It’s an unspoken “You’re important enough to me to take the time to stop for a moment and write it instead of firing off an email.”

Even better is when it’s on special paper. This stationery set was sent to me by a friend who lives in England. The case is done in a creamy peach satin with lovely ribbon pansies that I’m wondering may have been hand-stitched as someone’s craft. But the paper inside? Heavily embossed violets and pansies on smooth thick paper that screams class. The whole thing sings “this note is special”. I guard them like gold, choosing to use one on only very special occasions. Because try as I might, I cannot find anything around here as beautiful. Usually the only notepaper I can find is the mass produced packages at Staples. I guess I’m old fashioned, but I love that personal touch, especially when it’s on such gorgeous paper.

What about you? Do you hand-write notes anymore? Do you have a stash of special stationery? Or use a particular pen for important documents? Or is it a lost art?

A Lost Art?

5 thoughts on “A Lost Art?

  • April 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Wow – that is gorgeous stationary. I occasionally still write on the reals stuff – things like thank you notes.

  • April 8, 2009 at 4:48 am

    I love the pen! Everytime I go to Michael’s I want to grab one of those calligraphy sets! I can’t wait to see the envelope! 😀
    I write myself lists and notes, but nothing important. It’s becoming a lost art. Hmm… we should all start writing letters to each other. Although…my writing is HORRIBLE! 😀

  • April 8, 2009 at 4:55 am

    LOL, Natasha, my handwriting isn’t great either, though I try hard. I also tend to write on a slant – all my words edge up on the right hand side. I’ve read in books around handwriting analysis, that that means the writer is in a good mood, that if it slants down, then you’re in a bad mood. Who knows.

    And LOL about the envelope. It won’t look much different to you since it’s a regular ballpoint pen as opposed to a calligraphy pen – although I do have several of those too. I just don’t use them regularly on normal correspondence. Maybe I should break them out …

  • April 8, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Coincidental? Hmm. Just last week I purchased two sets of special stationary collections. They are so beautiful.I’ve been sending out cards JUST BECAUSE or whenever I get the slightest reason.

    It is special to get a personal handwritten note on pretty stationary. And I think we appreciate it more because everyone is into emailing these days and not sending that extra minute (or stamp). I especially appreciate the stamps spent, lol, as it helps preserve my job!!

  • April 8, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I love your pen. It’s very stylish and I can see how it would feel great in your hand.

    I never handwrite notes etc these days and don’t even own any stationary. I do like the pansy. That’s gorgeous.

    Í like a handwritten to-do list and I also have a handwritten shopping list. I had to laugh about pens not working. Hubby and I have a Winnie-the-Pooh pot in the office and an old Stilton cheese jar by the phone stuffed full of pens. Half the time the pens don’t work when I grab one. It’s very frustrating!

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