Recently, I was discussing with some friends the idea that the art of handwriting has all but vanished. Seldom, in my day-to-day, do I EVER need to write something down. Often, I will have beside me my phone and laptop. Both of which can very efficiently capture thoughts and notes with a wide variety of fancy keyboards, cameras, and even through the microphone with fancy Natural Language Processing (thanks Ray Kurzweil – you broken genius).
Side note: If you have not seen the Transcendent Man (trailer), do yourself a favour and explore the weird and wild theories of Kurzweil himself on his quest to recreate his father from collective memory and artificial intelligence.
It seems I am not the only one to have noticed this either; recent articles in the New York Times and The Guardian share similar sentiments. It seems that the prevalence of digital communication has all but reduced the many years of teaching, training, and recitation to the scrawl-y shopping list, or brief meeting notes.
Thus, I thought that it would be fitting for my 28th year alive I would request you write a note and send it to me. I am not picky about block letters, longhand, script, joined-up writing, joint writing, running writing, or handwriting. I am not picky about the language you use, or if you sign it or want to keep it anonymous. Don’t worry about the fancy pens or paper, and don’t concern yourself with grammar and punctuation. At the very least make it legible (at least to you).
You can send it to me physically (drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for a mailing address), OR you can take a picture of it, and comment on this post or email it to me, or post it directly on my facebook wall, or tweet it to me. You could take a video of you writing it, and post that up on Youtube.
In researching this project I have found there is so much that is gleaned just from someone’s handwriting. Vimala Rogers (graphotherapist), a writes that “changing your handwriting can change your life” in Amazon.ca’s #1 Best-Seller in Handwriting Analysis. There are handwriting analysts across criminology, history, law and sociology, and even people that work long and hard to copy someone else’s handwriting and signatures called forgers.
Of course, you may remember some successful past requests I have made, such as 25 Stories on 25, and 27 Birthday Pictures. I believe that there is a beauty in the collective creativity. Like that time Caitlin Curtis and I asked for Love Letters from Amazon Mechanical Turk workers, and then built an improv show around it.