It’s that time of year when family and friends begin preparations for the looming annual tradition. Those two or three days of celebration by decorating a tree, dwarf or simulation, in glorious colour, or tat, depending upon your point of view, to signify that “phew, we made it another year” .
And whether or not you approve of the commercialisation of Christmas is not the point when, if asked, you decline to offer any ideas for gifts you would be happy to receive. Sometimes, as I am frequently reminded, it is as pleasurable to give as to receive.
When I was in my early teens my parents once gave me a beautiful fountain pen for Christmas. I can still see it, emerald green, the colours shifting in depths in various lights, a gold nib. I used it daily at school and was proud of it. One day it went missing and I swear to this day it was stolen. By whom I know not.
And I recall from my junior days spending lessons practicing each letter, laboriously, in what we were told was “real writing” , joined up, like grown ups do. Our styles developed revealing characteristics and traits to ourselves and calligraphers, sometimes even advising on suitable candidates in job placement. Our inner souls laid bare by how we join, loop or lean.
Beautiful writing style would be remarked upon and whilst we still have people who write with a pen it still is today.
But digitisation creeps into our lives in the name of progress. Imagine my shock and surprise to learn that my grandson, at the tender age of 5, in his first term at “proper” school is given homework asking him to demonstrate that he knows how to change a font on a laptop. My heart sinks and aches for the beauty of “joined up” writing.
Fortunately, his parents have already taken a hand in this and he knows how to hold a pencil properly and can control it to write and draw. Others however, can be left to find their own way, and examples of illegible writing abound and pervade as a tide mark between the practice of writing with a pen and the new fangled preference for typing – or worse, texting.
When all said and done, a poor writing style still marks a person, at least to me. Registrars still hand write marriage certificates, probably death certificates too, and there is nothing more depressing in my view than to have such a testament presented looking like it was scrawled by Neanderthal Man holding his pen like a spear. Grumpy old fart, I might be, but I stick to my point. If anyone applies for a job in my world I want to see how they write. They will, after all, be representing me as well as themselves.
The moral of the tale ? Don’t neglect the old skills. If nothing else it will mark you out as someone who cares about your presentation, and if you are meeting someone like me, could be the thing that gets you the job.