Once upon a time my friend wrote a blog that was inspiring and lovely. Technically, the blog is still around. It is called Brown Ink Paper Goods. The posts were all about keeping the passion of handwritten cards and notes alive during this fast-paced digital age. I wholeheartedly believed in the blogger’s purpose and was sad that she had to close her online paper goods shop. With competition so tight in the stationery and paper goods industry, I honestly couldn’t figure out how she could have stayed in business. My thought: the simple act of writing a note in today’s world is noble enough, but to spend a lot of money for high quality stationery - excuse the pun - really pushes the envelope. The Brown Ink posts, which were mostly written by my friend but I believe her husband also contributed, were always very relatable and informative. Every now and then, I will receive an email with a post from Brown Ink and I’m reminded of their commitment to keep handwritten notes alive and kicking. Keep it up!
National Handwriting Day is on Monday, January 23, 2017. According to the website NationalDayCalendar.com - National Handwriting Day was established by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association in 1977. It’s not a coincidence that John Hancock’s birthday is on January 23rd. Very clever Writing Instrument Manufacturers, very clever!
I believe the significance of the day is more about writing a letter or note using a writing utensil on paper than the actual “handwriting” part. Do you automatically think of cursive writing when you hear the word handwriting? Or do you think handwritten just means not typed up on a device and sent electronically? My daughter is learning how to write in cursive. I never had formal lessons because when I was in fourth grade, I transitioned from a public school to a Catholic private school and they had already learned cursive in 3rd grade. I missed the cursive unit. We moved to CA when I was in the 5th grade. So needless to say, I slipped thru the cracks. My handwriting - both print and cursive - is terrible!
The other day, my mom (the hoarder with order) told me that she has boxes of memorabilia in her garage from my high school and college days. My reply was, “I’m not surprised.” After we both chuckled, she told me there were lots of “notes” in the boxes. I knew exactly what she was talking about. Three-hole punched, college ruled paper notes filled with juicy info that was folded up into all sorts of shapes - mostly the triangle “football” shape - and cautiously passed, hoping not to be read by anyone other than the intended recipient. We would write pages and pages, front and back, of just stuff. We wrote neatly and tried to spell words correctly because if anyone else found the note you didn’t want to be embarrassed about the presentation of it, let alone the content. Do people still pass notes in class? I’m pretty sure they are obsolete since texting is much more efficient and easier. However, texting has so much risk involved since anything on the web can go viral in seconds. It seems like such a shame to lose all those handwriting opportunities!
As I looked thru all the thank you cards we received from January 2016 to December 2016, I am so happy to see that the art of handwritten notes is not lost at all. Look at all these! I was surprised at how many we received in one year!
Handwritten notes are not just for thank you cards. Letters and notes are thoughtful pinches and I love getting them from friends and family. I know snail mail is ancient and is a hassle. Stamps, envelopes, return addresses and making sure you have the current contact info for the recipient. I get it. But raise your hand if you’d rather see a letter from a pal in your mailbox than a bill? Oh, who am I kidding? We don’t even get bills anymore, it’s all electronic. So raise your hand if you’d love to get a handwritten letter along with your Sweaty Betty catalog. Ok, if you signed up to save the trees then you don’t even get catalogs anymore so forget raising your hand. If you would rather get a handwritten letter with your Amazon Prime delivery, let me hear an AMEN!
On January 23rd please write a note, on paper, to someone and mail it. You will accomplish two things for the price of one: Sending a thoughtful pinch while preserving the art of handwriting. Do it.