A big website update launched today! Which is mostly a sign of more updates to come... There's only two other tabs up there, so you can guess what might be coming next!
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, was one of my very favorite books as a child. I remember reading it over and over throughout the years, and with each new age, each new reading, new parts stuck out. I may even have to pick it up again now...
I love its sense of play, of nonsense, of adventure and fantasy. It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. Parallel world or time travel stories are still some of my very favorites. The short story I just read yesterday, Ray Bradbury's The Night Meeting, fits into that category well...but more on that later.
If you never read it in school, or haven't reread it in a while, I highly recommend taking a journey into its wonderful, bendy world.
The world around us greatly influences how we internalize the world within that space. So of course I saved listening to Agatha Christie's classic mystery Murder on the Orient Express for a long train ride. While certainly not the same train, nor ride, nor time, the environment of being on a train allowed my imagination that many more sensory inputs to play with as I chugged along through the story. It was a thrilling puzzle.
I’ve always had terrible handwriting.
Every teacher told me so. I won every casual class competition for who has the worst handwriting. I even hold my pencil all wrong (which made long standardized tests even more terrible.) In 2nd grade, I was given poor marks and extra work because my handwriting drifted diagonally from the lines on the page. In 3rd Grade, I had to stay in from lunch all alone just to practice cursive. Readjusting my grip, extra worksheets, writing very slowly, nothing ever worked.
In college my first big written test for World History came back with an A+, with a note on the top that said “You have the worst (double underlined!) handwriting I have ever seen!!” I glowed. It didn’t inhibit my content! I was going to be okay! Even with such awful penmanship, I had managed to get into a top University and aced a test. I had won a years-long handwriting battle. My handwriting isn’t going to hold me back, like I’ve been told for years. I can get a degree anyway.
In the years since school, I’ve gained some perspective on what’s important. Contrary to how it was presented, getting a degree is not the end-all, be-all in life - rather, a (sometimes) valuable stepping stone in the beginning of a much, much bigger adventure. And I can see that my handwriting not only won't hinder me or bring me judgement, but I can use it as a form of expression, to work through thoughts in my own way - diagonal lines, invented abbreviations, quick messy words, or even capturing more of the shape than the letters.
Now, without the pressure that my success in life will be directly proportionate to the quality of my penmanship, I can look at my handwriting in a new light.
An idea floated its way over to me recently. There’s so many forms of words as art: calligraphy, illustrated quotes, chalk art, brushed sayings, gold-foil inspirational sayings… Why can’t my handwriting fit? What if I looked at it as art, instead of at its ability to conform to academic standards. What if, instead of trying (in vain) to make it just like everyone else’s, I embraced what my handwriting really is - one of a kind?
Looking at my handwriting as art, I actually find it pretty. It has a kind of movement to it, like a Quentin Blake sketch. I “drew” some inspirational quotes about handwriting and writing, and I quite like them. There are some quotes about having terrible handwriting, in the spirit of camaraderie with those of you who have a similar “affliction,” and there are some more heart-to-heart quotes, to remind you that even “awful" things can be beautiful.
Keep an eye out for prints available soon.