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Handwriting Status Report

Midlife TEXT crisis

I’m changing my handwriting. Or trying to. I take lots of notes by hand, pretty much all the time, and I always have. After decades of writing in tiny type, I’m trying to learn to write in ALL CAPS for both legibility and speed. (I use the test-to-speech in Google Recorder and in Apple Notes a lot, and I sometimes use Rev for long-form transcription, but I also just take a lot of notes by hand.)

Size isn’t everything. It’s not about the amount of ink. It’s about line efficiency. I’ve long admired the handwriting of comic artists, designers, and graphic designers. I’m following their lead.

After some practice, I still had ten difficult letters: EFGHKQTXYZ. (Numerals are easy.) After another week, I’d whittled to five: FHTXZ. It’s one thing to trace a path, another to do it naturally. Z is a peculiar outlier. It shouldn’t be more complicated than M, W, or S, but I’ve got a mental block due to decades of putting a slash across it. I’ll get there.

The process, over time, left me with four difficult (to me) letters: F, H, T, and X. The goal is to have a standard approach for each in which I never lift up the pen(cil). I can do X with a bit of a vapor trail, and it’s not too bad. T and H keep backtracking and overlapping. Again, I’ll get there.

I’m still working on an efficient F. I may just have to deal with F and T requiring pen lifts, H looking like a shallow EKG, and X leaving a trace of the path beyond its standard geometry. Kinda just settling that F is two or three lines and T is two. Rest of the alphabet is one. Maybe that final pair of letters will simplify over time, preferably before I need to unlearn things again.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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