Where Ideas Begin

A few years ago, I took a road trip with some friends and in the 36 total hours we were in the car, we talked about seemingly everything. One of our conversations was on the topic of cursive. Yes, as in the penmanship style.

Whenever I write anything by hand, it is almost always in cursive. I rarely write in print. I was taught cursive in third grade and it took me a while to get the hang of it. At some point though, it clicked and I've written almost solely in cursive ever since.

I like cursive because it allows me to write faster, which means I can transfer an idea from my head to paper before the thought vanishes. I also like it because it is pretty. My ideas may still be in rough draft form at that point, but at least with the swirls and loops of the letters, they look pretty on the page.

More so, however, I like what cursive represents. Even though it allows me to write faster, it serves as a reminder to slow down. To stop and notice the things that make life prettier and more enjoyable. To recognize that if design did not matter in the grand scheme of things, snowflakes would be ugly. That aesthetics matter and have a psychological impact. Cursive reminds me of all this on a daily basis.

Even though I can type more quickly than I can write in cursive, the process of writing by hand allows me to think in ways that a digital screen and keyboard do not. Cursive is full of loopy letters that wander across the page, and forming those letters allows my mind to wander. I have followed the Morning Pages method of journaling long before I knew it had a name and entire movement behind it, and almost always without fail, by the time I reach page three, something in me cracks open and an idea that I couldn't articulate, but knew was in there, comes out.

Every good idea I've had since the third grade has almost always started in cursive.

Originally published July 2012