When I got home from a Girl Scout cookie booth this afternoon with my 14-year-old (still in GS at 14 - so cool!), I found that my laptop had frozen up. One re-start later I discovered that none of the revisions to had saved, despite my having hit "save" each time I walked away from my draft. So, instead of trying to reconstruct my would-have-been post, I bring you the following version...
Early last month, for probably the last time, I managed to coerce my daughters into taking a photo with Santa. This happened at a 19th century historic site where they volunteer during the summer and fall and was accomplished partly by my insisting it would be a good surprise for their dad. Towards the end of our visit, we stopped in the gift shop, where the girls spotted a bottle of sepia ink and I got the idea of learning enough 19th century penmanship to write a message on the picture frame with a dip pen. I figured this would make a nice gift for Dwayne, as it combines two of his great loves: family and vintage technology.
Since I reverted from cursive to printing in seventh grade, I knew this would take some effort on my part, and that was part of the gift as well. My cursive is okay as long as I'm writing slowly and concentrating on forming letters instead of ideas - not really a practical means of note-taking or journal-writing for me. An online search for "19 century handwriting" led me to www.iampeth.com, where I found an extremely helpful instructional manual for Spencerian Business Script. I skipped the information about how to sit, hold a pen, and move my arm and dove straight into copying upper-case Ms and Cs.
|This was my first experience with a dip pen, and I can't say I enjoyed it. It seemed I'd either run out of ink in the middle of a stroke or overload the nib, with an unsightly result!|
"This is my attempt at Spencerian [Business] script, which was used in the second half of the 19th century and the very beginning of the 20th, until the advent of the Palmer method. As you can see, the capital letters, while still quite recognizable, are different from those of the dreaded Zaner-Bloser method, under which I toiled as a child. There are minor differences in the lower-case letters (Spencerian vs. Z-B) but they are generally so minor that I have ignored them so as to concentrate on the sweeping capitals. Were I truly committed to the cause of great penmanship, I would practice each day, but how can I with all these Girl Scout cookies yet to sell? It is one thing to attempt to copy the letters; quite another to practice the principals behind each letter. Dec. 27, 2011"
It's too early to tell whether I'll do much pencasting in the future, but I've had fun playing around with 19th century handwriting and will probably continue to experiment, especially now that I have a pen I really enjoy. Besides flowing nicely and being easy to grasp correctly (instead of in the dreaded "death grip"), my Parker includes a nice bonus feature: unlike my computer, it "saves" automatically.