What shall I pass to the future?


I wrote this a couple years ago but it’s still very true.

My grandmother is ninety-three, and I am thirty-five, and my mother’s age is one I’ll not reveal, or she may thump me. As I get nearer to my thirty-sixth year I start to wonder what virtues, and habits, and passions will I pass down to future generations? Will I be yet another forgotten worker bee, part of the landscape? Or if I am remembered at all, will there be some bright spark that others might find good to see?

My grandmother still writes in a fine classical Palmer hand, in a style that predates the current D’Nealian version and was popularized in the late 1900s.  Until a week ago, I wrote in a not so fine and brutally pragmatic print hand. It was readable, but never had a pretense of elegance. Is this what I want to have when I am ninety-three? Or sixty, even? Will I rather have eighty or ninety years of practice writing in something that is not fair to look on, or fifty five years of practice in lovely penmanship? I know the choice I am making now.

The same goes for books. Will I tell future generations of the works of Shelley, and Tennyson, and Kipling, and Lafcadio Hearn, and Robert Heinlein, and Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle, and Shakespeare, and Samuel Clemens, and Miyamoto Musashi?  Or will the only books I know be Harry Potter, Star Trek or Star Wars novels, and modern fantasy? The website Project Gutenberg is a priceless portal to many immortal works from all around the world. It’s also free, which is rather important as well.

Will I start a Work of Noble Note? Will the others, in my generation, do the same? What will their choices be?

And what of you? I’ve covered two things I’d like to take to the future. What things from the past would you like to pass forward? What’s worthwhile to you? I’d love to hear it.

Surprising Benefits of Handwriting

Did you know that writing by hand, rather than typing or printing, might actually help your brain?

I recently read about a study that was conducted on kindergartners. In learning, the kindergartners who wrote during a learning activity had more active, adult like brain patterns than the children who didn’t. The same researchers looked at adults and found that not only did adults who wrote have more brain activity as well, but it was of a different kind, and apparently more beneficial, if they wrote in cursive rather than printing or typing.

There’s another benefit, too.  Cursive, or is that cursed-at? and even the dreaded Palmer Method or later D’Nealian Method, is designed to reduce hand fatigue.  It’s meant to help you write a longer time with better legibility, while still making your handwriting look elegant.  I’ve found this to be generally true, depending on your taste.

This is why I have started to write more letters and in my diary again. I also practice my handwriting with inspirational quotes or whatever poem I am currently memorizing. I find that handwriting puts me in a much more meditative frame of mind than when I print or type. I also find that my words tend to be a bit more poetic and eloquent, as if the beautiful letters demand more beautiful words to go with them.

As old fashioned as it may be, I am having fun with this and am really curious to see where it will go.