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The Forgotten Art of Handwriting

Organising my home and decluttering during lockdown, I came across a box full of photos that brought back fond memories; moments spent with friends, family, and colleagues traveling, celebrating, enjoying a picnic at the park, saying goodbye to a friend moving abroad.

Photographs possess such unique power: they make it easier to recall times gone by and help relive moments bygone; remember them in all their details, bringing back the emotions and the atmosphere, creating the nostalgia that surrounds.

 

Aside from the photos, I found some old letters and my diary from secondary school, tucked away in a wooden box at the back of my wardrobe. While reading through the letters, it struck me how the stories we used to put on paper - before texting and emailing became the norm, somewhat causing to neglect our penmanship - are so meaningful and revealing to me now. I suddenly remembered how much I loved writing letters and how eagerly I waited to receive a response in the post. I recall the intimacy of sitting down in a quiet corner to write a holiday postcard to friends and hoping it would arrive before I got back home. All that slowly reduced to sending greeting cards for birthdays, Easter, and Christmas as years went by and technology evolved.

 

The intimacy of communication seemed to have gradually languished. Have we traded the excitement of creating something personal for the people we hold dear to us to merely typing emails and texts?

 

Large lost art of handwriting calligraphy

Back in April, I started writing letters again to tell my friends and family how I’ve been spending my days during these difficult times, what happens around me, and naturally, to let them know that I miss them dearly. For the same reasons, and for the recollection of my memories, I resumed writing a diary, something I have neglected for a long while.

 

There is something calming and inspiring about writing letters and diaries. Jotting down my thoughts at the end of each day makes me feel relaxed and complete. It might sound odd, but I have realised how writing can be not only a creative but a calming and therapeutic exercise. Lately, I pay closer attention to the eloquence of my writing, elaborate more on the details, developing the story to make for fun future reading. Just to imagine getting together with friends and re-reading these letters one day fills me with excitement!

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During the pandemic, many of us began to find new ways to be creative and connect with friends, colleagues, and family. Some have been meeting up on different digital platforms while others, just like me, have started writing letters and diaries.

 

Stationery sales are booming and interestingly, the need to share ideas, emotions and experiences seem to have sparked a revival of handwriting. Many people are returning to handwritten correspondence and they are doing so in more thoughtful and meaningful ways.

 

Personalised cards, notebooks and diaries are more popular than ever. Social stationery, a true reflection of one’s style and personality, is living its new renaissance. Bespoke stationery with engraved logo or coat of arms, unique hand-crafted cards and monogrammed notebooks are now considered essential luxury items.

 

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Amid these trying times, many business owners have taken the time to pen personal Thank You cards to their loyal customers and suppliers as a sign of respect and appreciation. As we all know, a heartfelt letter means a lot to its recipient, and it only takes a small act of kindness to maintain a meaningful, lasting relationship.

Handwriting, considered a forgotten art and an endangered skill, seems to be making a comeback. Let’s rediscover this beautiful tradition and preserve our thoughts, stories, our legacy for future generations!

by Agnes Bobvos