A random thought early this morning.
Are we losing the art of sending handwritten messages? (Ironically, this post is being typed on a Mac).
Back in the days when we had to grab a pen or pencil to write our messages, things were so much different. A personal message was an elaborate act. We would be thinking whether to use a fast, barely legible cursive for a work memo, or put effort in making the best calligraphy to impress the object of our affection.
It was the times when our emotions channeled through our fingers, down to the waiting plain sheets. The angry presses his pen so hard it leaves marks of rage on the pages below. The amorous gently glides her fingers, making art of love with the alphabets. The grieving sheds teardrops that forever reside between the lines.
Museums love to exhibit great writings of great men past. The sketches of Leonardo da Vinci, the love letters of Soekarno, the visions of JFK. Handwritten letters, diaries, and journals used to be such a romantic records of passing thoughts, dreams, and desires.
We are now living the era of the digital texts, where letters are just binary codes; cloned, copied, pasted, forwarded. Between our finger tips, came the gap of electronic pulses that form text on a screen.
All ‘I love you’ (with the same font) look the same. So do all the ‘I miss you’.
We no longer doodle our smiles. We take our smileys from “stock emoticons”, at the tap of finger. No more individual smiley. We merely borrow our smiles from the smartphone, chat app, and OS makers.
Few are lamenting the lost art of handwritten messages. Which is rather sad. Studies show that handwriting helps brain development of babies and also improves adult’s cognitive functions. (“How Handwriting Trains The Brain” in WSJ).
Perhaps what we need is sending a personal handwritten message to our dear ones, occasionally. Perhaps we need to rekindle the magic of greeting cards, with carefully thought scribbles. We may think our handwriting is not good, but it is still OUR handwriting, not just electronic pulses.
Perhaps when we stop writing and only rely on typing, a bit of our humanity is lost.
So this morning I decided to send a handwritten message to my wife. Yes, it is not real ink. It was written with a stylus on a tablet, and was attached to an e-mail. But it was still my own handwriting. And it bears my personality, in fact, my very own soul, like no ‘application’ or ‘software’ can do.
It feels good