All things done by hand

“If you’re not going to put in the work, if you really don’t care about it, do something else.”~Joe Paterno, former Penn State head football coach

Happy National Handwriting Day!

It just so happens that this was one of the holidays I chose in the January Bizarre Holidays ATC swap.  I adore this card.  It is one of my favorites.  Yes, that is my own handwriting on school-type writing paper.  Does that even exist anymore?  More and more I hear that schools are no longer teaching handwriting to children.  We are losing our physical connection.  Pen and pencil used to be the only way to communicate.  Mom took shorthand in high school, and I did the same in lieu of typing class.  To practice my technique, mom and I would pass secret notes to each other in shorthand.  A delightful memory. 

I collaged bits of the card.  That has become my favorite technique, something I’ve done in scrapbook pages my entire life.  Take a napkin, place it under the plastic magnetic photo album page and–poof!–a memory captured in time.  A stamp from one of my husband’s overseas’ packages.  When is the last time you wrote a letter to someone?  A real letter, one you had to seal inside an enevelope with a lick of your tongue and a stamp in the corner?  Christmas cards count, but even now I find more and more pre-printed “From The Family” photo cards in my mailbox.  Sometimes even the address is a computer printed label.

I also used my friend Deb’s stamp set to complete the card.  How fun it was to play within another crafter’s space, to use her papers and inks, to see what she treasures and keeps closest to her work desk, to reaffirm our similar tastes by finding things she had that I wanted to use.  This card is a deep combination of memories, traded to someone else who will treasure my art.

What is it that is so magical about handwriting?  What is that connection?  What is it that we treasure? 

Handwriting captures a piece of us.  This can never be deleted.  It is proof that we were here.  It’s unique.  That’s why we love autographs so much.  Now we have a piece of that person as proof of existence after he or she is gone.

I have few official autographs, but here is one I love.
Joe Paterno is no longer a part of this waking world.  He is intensely missed by those of us who knew him.  This is a commemorative card printed in honor of his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.  My husband and I were there as he made an appearance at the Penn State Alumni Association’s afternoon reception.  He came in the room and a swarm of people diverged on him.  We were told he would not be able to sign any autographs, but he made the time for autographs and pictures.  He talked to people he never met before as if they were long-lost friends.  His memory was as sharp as my dad’s had been.  Take Dad on a drive somehwre once and he could guide you there the second time.  Joe remembered every player he coached, recalling how some were great and how one “turned out to be a real disappointment.” 

Oh, that was not an insult.  Just his perspective, told straightforwardly honest as any crotchety old man without a care for others’ opinions would say. In a child, we would call his comment “precocious” and we would laugh.  We laughed with him a lot that day.  He stood at the podium and veered from his speech into tangent stories.  I don’t remember them all, but I do recall him stopping in the middle of one and saying, “Ah, you don’t wanna hear this.  I must be boring you.”  Every alumni in that room held their breath in disbelief.  Bored!  We could listen to him tell us stories all day, intensely absorbing every word.  He had an ESPN press conference to attend, but he kept talking with us.  With, not to.  Someone finally had to drag him out of the room.

This little postcard memento reminds me of that day.  Not only do I have my memories, but I have a piece of him to treasure forever.  He will never be forgotten.

That’s why I love Zentangle so much.  Doing things by hand brings us in touch with ourselves.  It is an old fashioned way to complete a task, one that we get satisfaction from.
That’s why I chose this day to delve into The Diva’s weekly Zentangle challenge: use the Moebius Syndrome Foundation’s logo as your string.  She provided images to trace, but I drew mine by hand. I wondered why my lines were coming out weak and uneven.  It had been weeks since I had completed a Zentangle for me, not as a design on an envelope or as an ATC, but a selfish one for me.  That may be, too, but halfway through, I noticed my pen was running out of ink.  Work with your challenges, Zentangle proclaims, so I finished my tile without changing pens. I completed something by hand and I am satisfied.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alison Burgess
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 20:51:07

    Nice post. I too have the need to write with pen and paper. Not necessarily handwriting, I actually prefer printing because my handwriting is a Zentangle in itself. I think the reason I have never tried attempting to write a novel is because I could not stand to type it. I have to write stuff down the old fashioned way. And God forbid they ever totally get rid of real books. The funny thing is I have a writing instrument and paper obsession and both of my daughter’s have inherited my OCD. Don’t touch our pens!


    Jan 25, 2012 @ 05:41:04

    Nice to see you back again. Love the way the logo emerges from your tangles!


  3. dwhirsch
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 14:40:28

    @Alison – Thank you. Oh, I have a favorite pen: Dr. Grip ballpoint in blue ink. Heaven help the person who touches that! But printing, writing…it’s all the same really; it is done by hand. I type my stories into the computer, but every one starts out handwritten on a yellow notebook tablet.


  4. dwhirsch
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 18:45:51

    @Danni – It is good to be back. Thank you. I was trying not to outline the string yet make it show. I guess it worked. :)


  5. ledenzer
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 10:03:17

    You did a very nice job of hand drawing the Moebius logo!


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