Episode Information

CMS: Handwriting
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In this episode:

Are we witness to the death of handwriting?


Episode Audio

49:29 minutes (23.76 MB)
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Do we even need handwriting anymore? Kitty Burns Florey thinks we do. In a world overrun by texts and emails, KBF is one of the last outposts of penwomanship. Call the show and tell us about the nun who made you the readable writer you are today. Also in studio, Terry Walters joins Colin to talk blueberries! The pair celebrates this year's bumper crop and share what they love about our little blue friends.

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Listener Email from Mimi

Just wanted you to know, regarding your upcoming show on the demise? of handwriting, that this is a subject I've been particularly concerned about for some time. I even wrote a piece about it several months ago, because I'm so worried about it.

But I believe that the handwritten thank-you note will never die, although even etiquette experts now say e-mails are acceptable. Not around here they ain't! Writing a thank-you note is like sending flowers. It's just a darn nice thing to do. And cheaper than flowers.
My son David in CA is on a one-person campaign to keep handwriting alive. To this end he bought a big box of writing paper and a (yes!) fountain pen. I get notes from him at least once a month, and it does my heart good to see his handwriting. However, I read somewhere that it makes you smarter to do old things in new ways, such as working with your opposite hand, so in order to get smarter I answer David's letters holding the pen in my other hand.  Somehow I don't think it does his heart good to see my handwriting. But hey, it's forging new neural pathways, so who cares if you can read it.
Go on, ask me the names of the Seven Dwarfs and the capital of Mississippi.

Question for Kitty

Any tips on writing well with an electronic pen? I have to use one to give presentations live online, and it drives me insane. My hard-copy writing has always been very awkward looking. Online, I write like a 3-year-old.

(All I know about the Palmer Method is what my grandmother showed me years ago: draw overlapping loops. I tried it, but didn't have much success.)

Listener Email from Linda

Colin, my significant-other/spousal equivalent probably will not approve of my writing about his handwriting to you, but I will anyway. You've seen his handwriting, and you know that it's large and misshapen and labored. I saw it not long after we started dating, and having taken a handwriting analysis course (at Asylum Hill CC), I recognized the handwriting of someone who is either somewhat disturbed or a serial killer. Silly me, we kept dating. THEN I found out that he, too, was forced to switch from his natural left-hand preference to his right hand when he was in elem. school.  He is ambidextrous, but his writing, obviously, suffered. (I'm a learning specialist, so I know the implication of forcing a child to switch. And, did you know that one technique we use to help a person with bad handwriting is to teach him/her calligraphy? Apparently, it has to do with training motor function using the other side of the brain. Curious tid-bit of the day...)
So, he and I are still together, and I feel much safer.
FYI: We're both glad you're back on the air. 


Listener Email from Ellen

Lyman Orchards is a wonderful place to pick!

Listener Email from Matt

I did not get a chance to finish my story. Sorry about that, I must have been taking to long.

Anyway what I was saying was that I have a very stylized form of handwritig, which has to be ledgible for my job.

Well, the other day I was browsig around a music store in new haven, and I noticed the person who had hand written the names of the artists had the EXACT same hand writing as I did. It was wild!

The guy who wrote the labels happened to be working, and we got I to a conversation about it.

We both wrote down the same sentences and compared them. Granted, their were subtle differences, however the overall style was nearly identicle.

Thanks alot! Sorry for taking so long on the air.

Matt bullard from Milford.


It's great to have unique handrwiting, but unique spelling leaves something to be desired.

Listener Email from William

Some individuals have poor penmanship, although I'm not sure if the Internet, email or texting is to blame. It may be a result of just not caring about what we produce in this "get it done fast and cheap" world.  What seems to be more at risk is the ability to craft complete sentences. So often, I receive emails from "highly educated" colleagues, that make me a little unsure about delegating assignments to them that involve....thought.