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June 05, 2017



As one who has more than a few of those Hank signed books where I often wonder - what does that say? - I can't really complain because my writing is also far from acceptable.

If I take my time, it actually doesn't look bad, so for Thank You notes, I'm in good shape, but catch me in a moment when I need to rush and even *I* might later wonder what I wrote. (And yes, Hank, I have seen your posts about your late night book notes that make no sense in the morning).

Guess we have all been there.

Storyteller Mary

My left-handed "hook" position (thanks, clueless 2nd grade teacher who made me write that way) had become less agile with time, so if I have to write much, I do take to the computer. I have also asked certain students to do all their work on computer so that I could read it. One asked permission to print rather than use cursive. I told him that's how my father wrote all his stories, so if it was good enough for Dad . . .
By high school, if cursive hasn't become natural, it's time to back off. I do think it should be taught, but then I was one of the last to teach from our spelling books and diagram sentences.
Your inscriptions are a mystery, Hank, but we can still feel the loving regard behind them. <3

Dean James

As long as I don't get in a tremendous rush, my handwriting is perfectly legible. I think cursive should still be taught.

Karen in Ohio

Hank, you're in good company, at least. A former boss had terrible handwriting, but I got pretty good at deciphering his hieroglyphics. Which prepared me for life with my husband, who has what I call a "crabbed" hand; his writing is so truncated as to be little more than a scribble.

My handwriting, before I developed essential tremors, used to be lovely. So pretty that people hired me to address envelopes. Alas, no more. Now my hand is just as likely to jerk in the middle of a word, making it also indecipherable.


We threw a baby shower for a co-worker and his wife, and she had trouble reading my signature. So I can write, but no one beside me can read it.


I can do a decent print/cursive thing. But when my 20 year old signed his social security card when he went for his first job.....oh my. Just awful. I don't think he had ever written cursive. He's a little bit better, but not much. Bring back cursive in school!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Oh, Kristopher, just assume it's singing your praises. xoxoxoo

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Thank you, dear Mary! I am left-handed, too--but I turn the paper so I don't hook.

And really, I'm not so much about perfect cursive as I am about legible. oxo

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Yay, Dean! Legible! Isn't it funny that we're happy with that? xoo

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Oh, Karen, but you improved at other things, right?

And how about when the pen is funny?

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Mark, yup, it's a situation. :-) But very important to make your name legible on a gift enclosure!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Nora, that's what I was wondering..how do they learn to sign their names? Is that a separate thing?

Cathy M

My mother (aged 91) and older sister have beautiful writing that could be a model to follow. I on the other hand have usually legible, but not pretty writing. My mother claims this was because I made her teach me cursive before I was in first grade. I think it's more of my mind going faster than my hand and this disconnect when I'm in a hurry and not concentrating leads to odd words. It's kind of like that Sci Fi movie about the disembodied hand.

I think cursive should be taught, otherwise how will scholars ever read historically significant documents from the original sources.

hank Phillippi Ryan

YOu are so brilliant, Cathy M! Your mind going faster than your hand. I LOVE that! Perfect. Exactly--and I have experienced precisely that.

And you are so right about the reading!


I still write cursive to my friends who do not have a computer. It is more intimate and polite to do so. I try to write quarterly.

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