Holding a Fountain Pen

My left-handedness has made this world a strange place to navigate. This comes with everyday things – including the use of scissors and nailcutters. The most frustrating thing I have to overcome though, genuinely, is the art of writing. There are so many obstacles as a left-hander. Desks in science labs are always on the wrong side. Spiral bound books affect your ability to write smoothly. You can’t see what you’ve written before because your gargantuan hand and the angle you hold pens in covers everything you write. It’s very frustrating. As a child, I used to come home with black hands because my hand would smudge lead from my pencil all over. It was awful.

When I graduated to using fountain pens, I started to discover angles at which I could make this art form of writing work reasonably enough. I practiced writing every day, using the opinion-editorial pieces from newspapers as things I would write out. It got me into the habit of reading the news, improved my handwriting and improved the speed of my writing – which is still devastatingly slow.

My handwriting went through several iterations of cursive before settling on what it is today. In Grade 9, my mother suggested I switch over to black ink and write straight and small cursive. In Grade 11, I rebelled by writing in the slopiest cursive imaginable. My cursive today sits at a pleasant 45 degree angle to the line I write on. Sometimes it goes even further.

All of this context is because this morning, I started studying for tomorrow afternoon’s examination. I realized, in that process, that I hadn’t picked up a pen all year – till today. All notes I’ve taken have been digital. Including the notes I take at meetings. So today was the first time I dusted off the pen, filled it with ink – scratched on multiple pieces of paper to get the ink flowing and started writing again.

Jee whiz is my handwriting terrible. In a way, that’s a good thing – it’ll mask some of the faffery I am bound to do in tomorrow’s exam. In other ways, it’s not so good. Maybe the next three days will be the duration in which I make a return to neat handwriting.


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