One thing that I’ve discovered while putting together The Letter – much to my horror – is that my handwriting is somewhat awful.

I guess that’s what happens when you don’t do something for over a decade. Sure, we all sign our names several times a week, but that’s different. It’s the same letters in the same order forever, and we all sign things pretty automatically now. We don’t even think about it or really care how it looks, for the most part (side note: I don’t think I’ve ever been successful in getting my signature directly on the line when I sign an electronic screen at a supermarket or for UPS). But try doing cursive for all of your communication for the next few days and see if you can remember how certain letters are supposed to look, how one letter attaches to another in the sequence, so it’s all legible.

What I’ve been doing is actually practicing my cursive letters. Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ed, Ff, etc, like I’m in fourth grade (or, fourth grade in the 1970s, since I’m sure teaching handwriting isn’t a priority in schools when every kid has an iPad in their bag, next to their Extreme Doritos and Red Bull drinks and copies of Grand Theft Auto and whatever else kids are into these days). All the letters are pretty easy to do – it all comes back to you when you start writing – except the “Z.” I mean, what the hell is this?


I probably won’t write a lot of Zs but…oh, I gotta do that a different way. (I don’t like ampersands either.)

When I take notes in a notebook, which I do all the time (I’m a paper and pen guy), I do what a lot of us do now: I use sort of a printing/cursive hybrid, something that helps me take down notes quickly. It’s closer to printing but with some flair and flourishes on some of the letters. Is there a name for the type of handwriting most of us do now? If there isn’t there should be.

Maybe I should have a contest with every letter I send out. The person who transcribes the letter with the most accuracy wins! Wins what, I don’t really know. Maybe a book on handwriting and a package of pens.

One thing’s for certain: the letters I type on a typewriter are going to be a lot easier to read.