Ever try to decipher a friend’s notes because you missed a day of class? Often do I see poor handwriting skills. The styles among the pool of people are almost impossible to read. I spend my time guessing letters and words to interpret the text so I can understand what the work means and use it for notes.
Penmanship is not taken as seriously as it once was. Today, people have personal computers to do all their writing work on. One never has to write a single word with ink and paper ever again, but that is just theoretical. I foresee this being the reality of the next generation of kids and students. Looking back two to three decades, handwriting was an enormous part of daily work. Schools did not have as many computers as they do today therefore handwriting was essential.
One of the major changes in education that bothers me is that cursive is no longer taught in school to children. While developing in school and enhancing my education I used cursive all the time, I still use it today. It is a fast and efficient writing style. On a side note, I question why cursive is not taught anymore when the most important section on an SAT requires the tester to copy a statement in cursive.
Back to the main topic, why I metaphorically stated calligraphy as Atlantis of the Arts. Cursive is the most basic form of calligraphy, which both follow the principle of conjoined letters for an entire word before the pen is lifted from the paper to cross the “t” and dot the “i” or move to the next word. Calligraphy adds more depth to the cursive style. It adds accent marks to the edge of lettering to give the work a more professional artisan appearance. Since calligraphy work can be done on a computer today with little to no skill required, I see it as a lost art where people do not actually write in calligraphy. The most famous place on Earth to still employ a professional calligraphist to handwrite hundreds of invitations for special occasions is the White House.
Though there is some hope left for calligraphy, it is slowly fading away and I fear that one day the skill will disappear much like shorthand in the late 80s and early 90s. I think cursive should still be taught to students in order to keep that skill and art alive. There will always be one person who takes the interest to the next step and makes calligraphy a career.