Who am I?

I am a writing and publishing guru. What I dont know about the market just isn't worth knowing. So what if I'm unpublished? I choose to give other writers the gift of my wisdom and experience* that the other 500,000 writing blogs out there fail to give.
* No actual experience

Saturday, November 5, 2011

On writing

“How come you write so funny?”

Something I heard many times as a child – pity it was my appalling handwriting and ridiculous pen-hold they were referring to, as opposed to my flawless wit.

Have a look at my party trick. That’s my thumb.

I can effortlessly bend it like that. What used to be called double jointed is now “hypermobile”.  And, no I can’t lie on my tum and swing my toes in front of my face- that would be way cooler. I’d be posting that instead.

It simply means the ligaments in my thumbs, and to a lesser extent, my fingers, aren’t good at their job of stabilising a joint. It means my fingers suck at controlling a pen. And I have to keep a death-grip on my pen to form legible letters.

If you were to see anything I’d handwritten at school, you’d find the first few lines reasonably neat, followed by a rapid decline in the quality as my hand fatigued. After a few paragraphs, you’d swear somebody else started to write, because I’d shift the position of the pen in my hand, and the letters would slope in the opposite direction. The writing would be neat for a few lines, then deteriorate again, and I’d find a different way to hold my pen. And so on. A page of my handwritten text looked as if it was a joint effort of three or four (messy) people.

As a teen, I stumbled across the “science” of graphology – or personality analysis through the study of handwriting. Yep, it’s as valid as personality analysis through astrology or phrenology (the study of bumps on your head), but I was not to know.

Seems that meek people have small handwriting, letters leaning forward (ie, to the right) are a sign of an impatient person, while you really can’t trust those who don't close the circles on their o’s, liars did that all the time! Those whose writing sometimes fails to stay on the line are easily led. And so on.

Well, my mixed up writing had dire implications: I was an introverted extrovert, meek, pushy and easily led. But I never lied.

So there ended my study of graphology.

In the early 90’s I shared a house with a German lady, who was applying for jobs. She duly sent off handwritten applications until the rest of us suggested it made her look slack. She was shocked. In Europe at the time, a graphological analysis was a standard personality screen of applicants. To send in a typed letter meant that you were hiding your inherently evil nature.

I don’t know if this practice is common today (if any Euro readers could comment, I’d appreciate it) but I guess no European company would have hired a fruit cake like me back then. Unless I could have persuaded a neat person to write my application for me.

It all came back the other day, while watching my younger son’s fingers grasping his pencil so tightly his nails were white, and how laboured the whole task of writing was for him. Yep, his fingers are even more mobile than mine were.

Another introverted extrovert who was both meek and pushy....


  1. Handwriting was tough for me too. I blame being left-handed.

  2. Wow. I never thought about any of this. I'm left-handed, but I have always had really neat handwriting. My mother drilled it into me. I'm glad I didn't have hypermobile thumbs!

  3. Yeah, it seems that the world is designed for us right handers. You do know that the word "sinister" originates from "left". Left handers are, technically speaking, "sinistral." Us right handers are "dextral". Except this dextral ain't at all dextrous!

    BTW, a person who'd lived in Germany for a while this year reliably tells me that handwritten job applications are no longer the norm.