Friday, January 22, 2010

"A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been 
discovered by others" 
~Abraham Lincoln

I want my handwriting back! My script is a casualty of the Computer Age, its decreasing legibility directly proportional to the number of hours spent at the QWERTY keyboard. The handwriting is on the wall -- my penmanship is awful. If Costco sells Liquid Paper by the gallon, I'm buying.

Nice handwriting was once my pride and joy. There's even a Penmanship Award in my past. In high school, I loved practicing the alphabet for purely aesthetic reasons. But there was an ulterior motive: beautiful handwriting might eke out some extra points on an English or History test. I'll never know if my illuminated manuscripts helped with the grades, but it's comforting to think that I was conscious about something in high school.

If Abraham Lincoln had had access to a laptop, we wouldn't have history on paper, namely -- the five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address written in the President's hand. Today we might see presidential signatures, but handwritten documents of this length are a thing of the past. The variations among Lincoln's versions of the Address offer a fascinating dimension to the text of his great speech. While I'm grateful for the Computer Age (we wouldn't have blogs!), I'm glad that Lincoln didn't text, compute or Twitter into the wild blue ethernet. This collection of  handwritten Lincoln manuscripts is a national treasure.

The Electronic Age, of course, has revolutionized the art of research. Today I came across Geoff Elliott's superb blog, The Abraham Lincoln Blog. Geoff has done the heavy lifting for years; he covers every aspect of Lincoln's life, and more. I'm planning to read it bit by bit over the next few weeks.

This morning I had coffee with my dear friends Joshua and Jorge, who just returned from a trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Hawaii. They presented me with an exquisite handwoven silk scarf made by Artisans d'Angkor of Cambodia. This consortium is devoted to handmade artisanal arts -- weaving, carving and sculpting. What strikes me about this scarf (featured in the photo) is how perfectly it matches the colors of the sampler. Thank you J & J, for your lovely gift -- I'm wearing it out tonight. Not the sampler -- only the scarf!

Have a happy and artisanal weekend!


  1. I can totally relate to what you are saying - love the digital age but this is one of the very few drawback...

  2. Sandy, thank you! I wish I could write you a handwritten note, but here I am at the keyboard! :)

  3. You are not alone. My handwriting used to be nice and pretty but now it is looks like chicken scratching which is what I always called my husband's handwriting and made fun of it. Big sigh. Computers are nice but I agree about missing my handwriting.