Monday, June 17, 2013

Écrire des lettres

No woodworking to see here. Sorry, kids.

There continues to be a dearth of w'shop time chez Alf, but still have the itch to do something at least vaguely productive. If you squint, you could claim it also involves wood. Well wood pulp.

Okay, paper.

Back in my teens it seems like not a week went by without my changing my handwriting. It veered from the round hand I was taught, through a pseudo Gothic, past an odd phase that swept through the school for writing on a ruler, and so on. Then one day, possibly in a sub-concious desire to make my teacher suffer, I taught myself copperplate for the purposes of a history project. And to my horror, it stuck. Well, sorta.

I can't say I exactly write out reams of copperplate these days - it's lost all the curlicues and just retained the spiky illegibility. Which gets worse and worse as the years pass and keyboard use dominates; this pains me, because it used to be I bucked the family trend and had a fairly legible hand. So enough is enough. My spare time may be either insufficient or in the wrong location to use it in the w'shop, but pen and paper are readily available. I've decided to work on improving my handwriting. Maybe I'll also get used to the idea that practice does actually help, and translate that to woodworking...

Anyway, I used to have an excellent book on lettering and calligraphy that had pages of different styles and how to produce them, into which I'd dive, pick one, and off I went. Slowing right down in order to copy it correctly is half the battle towards legibility, I find. But my rod and staff seems to have got lost in the intervening years. (A moment's silence for this loss, if you would.) So instead I decided to try for a style of handwriting with sufficient curviness about which I knew there'd be a lot of information floating around on t'interweb - French cursive.

The French take handwriting very seriously, I gather, and expect tout les enfants to learn it in a certain way to certain standards and so forth. This probably goes some way to explaining why all the genuinely French French teachers I ever had were perpetually in a bad mood; the widely differing handwriting they were faced with daily must have been torture enough. Add in our atrocious mangling of the language, and well... Anyway, as expected, there's plenty of information, and so I've taken le plunge.

The lower case lot, apart from the R and the Z and maybe the P, I don't think will be a problem, but I'm struggling a bit to get enough freedom of curve into the upper case as yet. But then, that's the point; to free the curves again.

So we'll see how it goes. Only serious drawback at the moment is I find myself coming over a tad Frenchified, and I simply don't have the vocab to support such an affectation. Alors, mange tout, mange tout. Mais crêpe suzette rein, n'est pas? See? Yeah, painful. Pity my French teachers...

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