C is for the Curse of Cursive

| March 31, 2014

C is for the Curse of Cursive

No one can write this post anymore.

I learned to write in script in third grade. I remember the lessons. I remember the absurdly wide-ruled paper with dashed lines between the solid lines designed to help us practice the letters over and over again. I remember hating it.

I never write in script. Well, I guess not never; I sign my name like everybody else. But even that’s a Frankenstein of real script and athlete autograph-scribble. Script is annoying to write. It’s annoying to read (can you even read this post?). And yet it is supposed to be the most aesthetic form of writing.

It makes sense, I guess. Script has no real use value now. It might have had it once, when it was the easiest way to write with feather quills and inkwells. But now its value is really only aesthetic; it looks pretty. And when people write things by hand nowadays, they’re not writing with the goal of things looking pretty.

So script has fallen completely out of fashion. I even had a hard time finding a good script font to use for this post. I went through all the Word fonts, and none of them matched the script I learned when I was in school. This “Edwardian Script” was the closest by far, and even it’s not identical. The lower-case “r” is different, for one. But other script fonts aren’t even close, and they’re mostly amalgams of script and non-script.

A couple of posts ago, I wondered why I subconsciously demote writing as a less aesthetic form than other visual arts. Now I’m wondering how writing can be as aesthetic as those arts if its most aesthetic form is dying.

The Curse of Cursive is real.