What does handwriting have to do with Steve Jobs?

Here’s the Steve Jobs speech, and here’s a post about the virtual type-in from The Right Reverend Theodore Munk, Manual Entry, Little Flower Petals, Writing Ball, Retro Tech Geneva, who’d I miss?? Hope you guys had fun.


  1. I recently took the GRE and the DIRE WARNING statement about understanding all the restrictions and prohibitions had to be written out by hand – DO NOT PRINT, it warned. I thought, there are a lot of students who won’t be able to do that, aren’t there?

  2. What intrigues me are the reports that some young people can’t even READ cursive anymore. It’s like a foreign alphabet to them.

    Good for Steve Jobs for creating a computer that relates to human emotions and the human body better than the old machines. Macs aren’t perfect, but I still will always choose one over a PC.

  3. Yes, the Florey book is a good one. I teach calligraphy- and am heartened when kids are interested in learning to write in pen-and-ink.
    However, I do have to explain the difference between regular cursive handwriting and the more decorative calligraphy. These days, the two seem indistinguishable to the untrained eye!

  4. Just to be a contrarian, I never really understood the need for cursive. I mean, grade school teachers go through all of that trouble to teach it, and then high school and university instructors go about making sure that you never use it again. I had literature instructors that would literally grade an in-class essay as a zero if it was “written.”

    That said, I personally love to hand write. Like the typewriter, it both slows me down and brings my focus way in. When I hand write there is nothing but me and the pen and the paper and the story. The direct nature of the interaction between hand and pen and paper is far more intimate than using a via of mechanical leverage or of electronic impulses. Or something.

    I’m glad to see that you picked up a Safari! They are excellent pens.

    Oh, and that girl in the middle of the post looks like the girl from the ring. Just sayin.’

  5. Ha! I had a feeling you’d eventually fall prey to the siren call of the turquoise Safari. And bottled ink?? I’m proud of ya. What ink did you end up with?

    Sort of on topic, apparently not only is cursive frequently being removed from schools, but it isn’t even because typing is replacing handwriting. Even touch typing is going the way of the dinosaurs, most likely due to all the bitty fake keyboards we have now. Eventually the human race may evolve to the point where we just have two large thumbs…

    Going back to handwriting, personally, I like cursive just because it’s quicker than printing–for me, anyhow. But as I’ve mentioned, I moved to cursive italic from the old Zaner Bloser style I grew up with. It’s maybe not as ornate, but I find it easier to write legibly at speed.

  6. On the other hand, I give “zeros” to students who can’t write but print!!;)

    Glad to see you’ve turned from blogging to … PLOGGING!! Doing a “Pen LOG”!!!!!

  7. Anonymous

    Don’t knock your cursive. Except for the “r” it is very similar to mine. I used to get compliments, and preferential treatment, from the ladies in the typing pool just because they could read my stuff. (Okay, this was a while back!)

    Glad you gave into the Safari. They are fantastic. I got my first one a few weeks ago, red with red ink, which is now my go-to editing pen. Less than a week later I had a second one, charcoal with blue ink. that goes with me everywhere. It is so comfortable and smooth it’s replaced the Namiki Vanishing Point as my regular shirt pocket pen.

    Thanks for mentioning the book. It sounds like an fun read.

    Jeff The Bear

  8. As a lefty, cursive is incredibly uncomfortable and it comes out looking rather fourth grade-ish. It is definitely NOT designed for lefties. I also can’t use fountain pens due to the smudginess. I usually use pencils, still smudgy, but not too bad.

    I also think that the reports of the demise of cursive are overrated, at least in my kids school it is still taught and my daughter is totally into it. That being said, the strict rules of cursive to me make it impractical. The point is to have a way of writing quickly, I think this can be achieved in multiple ways. I usually use a hybrid cursive when I write which works for me.

  9. 1) Yay for strikethru updates
    2) I don’t believe I *ever* learned to write cursive CAPITAL letters. Or, if I learned it, I’ve forgotten.
    3) I prefer typing to handwriting like I prefer breathing to an asthma attack. I think it has something to do with unresolved sensory integration issues (google sensory integration and weighted vests, or some such).
    4) As the Moon childrend are home-educated, we’re finding out that cursive IS like a foreign language to our son, but our daughter uses it now almost exclusively.
    5) Knowing precisely nothing about fountain pens, would you choose a different type of pen/nib if you are a printer vs. a cursive writer? Seems like they’re very different activities.

  10. Not, going to grad school?

    Richard, I have heard this weirdness about the waning ability to read cursive, and I just can’t quite believe it!

    Speculator, should have figured you’d have read Florey, and probably THornton’s Handwriting in America?

    Speeg, it seems after a certain point that yes, writing by hand is considered amateur in school, this happens pretty early on as I recall, maybe junior high (or as they call it in Washington, “middle school”). Probably now more than ever.

    LFP, you are to blame for the turquoise Lamy! Youuu! The ink I got was just a random bottle of Pelikan brand brown ink, I know there are some highly regarded inks out there, haven’t even gotten my feet wet on the whole matter of ink.

    Martin, I have kind of turned Strikethru into a Plog. Pens are so much fun, and typewriters require sitting up at a desk. Mostly I find after a day of work I am far too lazy for that.

    Thanks Jeff, now I am suddenly thinking I need a red Lamy with red ink. Arrgh!!

    Namnezia, I never really thought about cursive as a left-hander. My left hand is basically a pincer, that is about the only motion I can make with it. I figure left-handed people have some extra lobe on their brain that makes it possible to use that hand for something other than picking up socks.

    DM, I know nothing about fountain pens, and stay safely in the realm of Lamy. Funny about your daughter vs. son, she’s going to have an unusual skill as an adult, since apparently, most of her peers won’t even be able to read cursive, and here she is writing it!

    You know what I think would be fun, is if all us typospherians could somehow take a calligraphy class together. Just for fun.

  11. Re: writing with the left hand:
    My dad was left handed. He wrote always in a very tight, cramped cursive, and did it in a very awkward way. He curled his left arm and hand around the pen in such a way that he was coming to the writing point upside-down. Like he was trying to keep a neighboring kid from copying his test answers, almost. I’m not sure if this was a smudge-prevention technique or if the old-school prohibition against left-handed writing somehow cramped (literally) his writing style.