In with the new, out with the old

by AB Plum


Not a


Or personal

But … a
memorable personal event. (Personal, versus of world import, namely the end of
the Vietnam War). Following up on my non-NY’s resolution to clean out 3 boxes
of old manuscripts, I found the prologue to the first novel I ever composed directly on a typewriter.

An artifact,
I know. An IBM Selectric, to be specific. (Affordable only because my husband
worked for IBM and got a discount).

Before that
momentous undertaking, I’d written thousands of words in cursive and then
transcribed the manuscript to a typewriter.

prologue, six typed pages, lay on top of eight legal pads with the story handwritten on the front and back pages. With no margins.

amazed me—more than how bad the historical romance sucked—was how legible my
handwriting was. I’d once taught adolescent boys and often wrote on another
artifact—the blackboard (green, in my school). I also wrote in a diary and kept
legible notes on my daily planner.

Today, my longhand
is worse than when I copied that first Palmer cursive letter in early third
grade. My keyboard skills, on the other hand, have increased my manuscript
output to a level of proficiency and efficiency I’d never have achieved writing
by hand.

Still, I
miss placing pen to paper and producing elegant handwriting. (I possess zero
visual artistic talent, but I am in awe of beautiful penmanship). Sometimes,
when I am at an impasse at my keyboard, I take out an array of pens and free
write until the Muse comes back from her break.

Or until my
fingers cramp.  

my Luddite heart, I did a little research. Is cursive still taught in
elementary schools? If so, what has replaced the Palmer method? Is printing
easier to learn than script?

As with
so many forays into cyberspace, I had to stop “researching” and
resume pounding the keyboard. But the handwriting is on the wall …

we have done with the abacus and the slide rule, it is time to retire the
teaching of cursive.” (Morgan Polikoff, Asst Prof of the University of
Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, May 2013, New York Times).

In other words, in with the new, out with the old.

about you? Do you write or print notes on paper? Or do you prefer to text?

*** AB Plum, aka Barbara Plum, lives, works, and plays without
an abacus or slide rule in Silicon Valley. Her next book, Through Rose-Colored Glasses, scheduled for release on February 17,
is the second book in the Ryn Davis Mystery Series. 

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