Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

This week we are looking into the lost art of handwriting. The Tangent Digress 脱線版 for this room is here.

A university of Washington professor reports that students who handwrite their responses generate better sentences, better concepts and produce their responses faster than those who use keyboards.

The study also finds that different regions of the brain are activated when using handwriting vs. a keyboard.



UW prof: Handwriting engages the mind

The pen may be mightier than the keyboard 

When I was younger, I often refused to listen to the advice of my teachers. One of my most stubborn areas was in handwriting. In 1st Grade, I wanted to block print my answers and refused to learn cursive. The teachers reluctantly gave in to my demands as I was compliant in almost all other areas of learning.

Later, in High School, I reluctantly took typing class as it was a required subject for graduation. I only took the first semester where we learned about the home keys and touch typing. I refused to stick around for the top row and special character training session. The computer age was upon us! Why would I need to use a “typewriter”.

Of course looking back from where I stand today, I realize that I could benefit from a better handwriting and I am so grateful for that typing class! How nearsighted my thoughts were. Of course the “typewriter” was going away, but we still need keyboards for entering data into our computers!

I hope to write both of these wrongs this week. (Note my play on words. The correct phrase is “right those wrongs” and means to correct a mistake you made in the past. The word “write” and “right” are pronounced exactly the same and so this is a pun. Enjoy!)

Handwriting is a learned skill. Through the skillful use of handwriting, we can express our thoughts more beautifully and with our individual flair and personality included.

Handwriting responses, writing a card to a loved one, leaving a handwritten compliment during your stay at a hotel–there are many ways to convey words that add beauty to our world.

In Japan, the art of handwriting is still treasured and even treated as art. You can still go to a temple and get a beautiful ratified version of your future or your name written on a scroll.

As mentioned in the room this morning, there are Japanese companies that require your resume (履歴書 rirekisho) to be handwritten. They want to see how your write. The forms are prescribed and you must write each character inside the little prepared boxes. One character per box. Make a mistake? get a new form and start from scratch! Wow!

For the 5:55 room, I keep a handwritten logbook with a brief summary of the contents of the day. Some days my penmanship is so bad that I have to cross out and re-write my own words…if I can decipher them at all!

When I am concentrating, I focus on writing one letter at a time. It is a form of calming, meditative therapy for my addled brain. By focusing on one letter at time, I find that my writing can actually appear beautiful!

This is an amazing discovery as I assumed I could never improve that skill after so many decades of trying. The singe letter concept is slower…and better.

For the rest of this week, we will look at paper, pens, pencils and other implements for better, more expressive, and more beautiful writing.

Drawing, is of course, included in our discourse.

Join us this week everyday at 5:55am Japan Standard Time to hear more.

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By Dylan

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