Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Death of Cursive

Keyboards are killing it. The few blogs I've read on the topic all agree that "hey, no one writes in cursive anymore anyway, right?"

I handwrite in cursive, typically for an hour and a half a day (though I aim for two hours). I am a very fast typist, and when I type I can reach the end of a thought very quickly; writing by hand slows me down so that by the time I reach the end of a sentence, my mind has already begun to formulate the next. I think it also forces me into a sparer style, which I end up having to correct by expanding on revision. Many other writers, by contrast, describe revision as mainly a cutting process. Finally, when I am stuck I use free writing to overcome problems (a debased form of automatic writing), and I can't imagine doing that on a computer.

Am I alone? Do any of you use cursive regularly?


  • At 5:41 AM, Anonymous vonnik said…

    That came up just the other day at work. No one writes cursive anymore, but I've heard some reporters say they still write shorthand in a pinch.

    I write cursive almost everyday, but I started noticing in high school that a lot of people were giving it up for typing.

    In an interview somewhere, Vollmann said he still began writing whatever he's working on in his notebooks, although I don't think he mentioned whether it was cursive or block.

    Primo Levi used to complain that writing with a keyboard made him prolix.

    It must be my desk job, but there's a satisfying physicality to writing cursive, isn't there?

  • At 11:59 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    I can believe Vollmann begins things in notebooks, but he's just waaaaay too prolific for me to believe he finishes there. The man spits out pages like a broken copier.

    And yes, handwriting is physically satisfying. For years I've written with a lightweight plastic fountain pen on ultrasmooth vellum notebooks, and now I have a Pavlovian-level relaxation response to just settling down with those implements.

  • At 11:41 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    I handwrite a lot, but not in cursive. I guess I use a sort of informal pidgin cursive, sort of. Something more than print, less than cursive. Or is it the other way around?

    I actually wasn't even taught cursive in school, though it should be said that I went to ghetto schools.


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