I had to look out some of my termly Reports from primary school, to confirm something I’ve always accepted as true: my handwriting is terrible. The subject was labelled ‘Writing’, as distinct from ‘English Composition’, at which I seem to have done quite well (although ‘marred by untidiness’). Here are some of the comments:
· Poor – rather unsteady
· Untidy – must try to slope all his letters the same way.
· Too much ink
· Too large and irregular
· Very poor and untidy
· Probably tries too hard!
And a rare one:
My signature on official documents – cheques, the backs of new credit cards, contracts and suchlike – is similarly, let’s say, unsteady and uneven. I blame this on a brief period during my banking career when I had to sign hundreds of ‘mail payment orders’ a day, at speed. There’s a theory that people’s signatures evolve towards either a straight line or a circle; well, mine ended up as the contents of my green bin when the holly has just been pruned. Complaints were received from banks around the world.
These actions and thoughts have been triggered by the arrival of my Book book, about which I wrote a few posts ago. As a reminder, the idea is to record stuff about books – any stuff, there isn’t a plan – in this nice black-hard-covered A4 lined notebook, as a kind of archive. My Book of Books. Past, present, future; expectations, disappointments, love affairs. I still like the idea, very much, but there’s one thing I hadn’t taken into account. The blank first page is staring unblinkingly at me right now. “If I’m to be what you think I am,” it’s saying, “you’re going to have to write considered words in me. Preferably with a proper fountain pen, in properly sloped copperplate.”
I’m considering my considered reply. At the moment it’s along the lines of “flip off, page one, I’ll scribble whatever I choose, with whatever writing utensil comes to hand.” In fact, I’m just going to make some notes about ‘Lionel Asbo’, in a commensurate fashion.
At the same time, I can’t help thinking that the Book has a point.