When I want to share something with someone these days, I send a quick email or a tweet. My time is often limited and my attention pulled in multiple directions so I’ve come to value the quickness and ease of communicating by digital means.
Yesterday though, my mom sent me a recipe hand-written by my grandmother who passed away some time ago. Even though she sent it by email, the minute I saw my grandmother’s handwriting a flood of memories came to me about her – her sizable collection of shells, the tiny Keds she wore, her love of a particular shade of green that pervaded the interior decor of her home and the game Boobytrap I used to play only at her house. All of that, from just her handwriting.
Her writing style was utilitarian and deliberate probably stemming from her days as an elementary school teacher. Certainly nothing remarkable. Those letterforms were uniquely her own though – a combination of her culture, how she learned to write, her personality, career, age and all the other aspects that create a person’s distinct hand.
In a world saturated with digital messages often conveyed by an assortment of repetitive and preselected typefaces, writing creates a direct link to the person and not just the content. Send out those tweets and status updates, but don’t neglect to write it down every now and then.