Tucked into a booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas might be the last place one would expect to find the president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, but there she was in January, analyzing the handwriting of attendees on an electronic tablet.
Sheila Lowe of Ventura had been invited to CES by the creator of the Boogie Board, a tablet that allows users to write as if they were using pen and paper. It wasn’t the first time she had been invited to analyze handwriting, as she’s analyzed the handwriting of attendees of the TED Talks (including a poet laureate of the United States, whom she says had “very ordinary handwriting”) and of people at countless other events.
With the arrival of National Handwriting Day this Saturday, Jan. 23, Lowe and members of the foundation will celebrate in their own way in order to shine a light on what they say is a skill slowly disappearing from the collective mind — but which shouldn’t be.
KEEP ON SCRIBING IN THE FREE WORLD
“Handwriting is like a picture of your psyche and it’s very symbolic of who you are inside,” said Lowe. “There are thousands of variables [in handwriting]; all of those things go together to show who you really are.”
Spatial arrangement, letter design and form, and even movement speed and rhythm make up who you are — at least subconsciously, says Lowe. The shape of an “I,” for instance, could offer insight into the writer’s relationship (or lack thereof) with his or her mother, as Lowe explained.
After the Common Core State Standards Initiative was released for English instruction in 2010, 42 states adopted the curriculum, which didn’t include cursive handwriting, further signaling the end for the style as new generations forget or are simply not instructed in cursive.
Numerous studies have shown that handwriting enables people to retain knowledge at a higher level and to think more creatively, as the brain adapts to specialized functionality such as holding a pen to paper.
HANDWRITING FIT FOR A PRESIDENT
This past Sunday at Ventura’s E.P. Foster Library, Lowe and members of the foundation discussed the current presidential candidates’ signatures.
Lowe says of Hillary Clinton that her signature suggests a “what you see is what you get” type of personality, while Jeb Bush’s signature is similar to those of his brother George W. and their father and that there is “strong identification” with each other.
Donald Trump’s signature, however, elicited gasps from the crowd.
“He block-prints, but he’s got these things called stingers that are like little extra strokes in the middle of the oval, and the oval area is part of communication, and when you’ve got extra strokes inside the Os and As, somebody described it as speaking with a forked tongue,” said Lowe, adding that it reminded her of the handwriting of Heinrich Himmler.
For National Handwriting Day, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association, which founded the day in 1977, suggests taking up a pen and writing a poem, letter or anything else. Handwriting Day, it says, is an opportunity to “re-explore the purity and power of handwriting.”
For more information or to participate in one of the local quarterly handwriting meetings, visit the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation’s website at www.ahafhandwriting.org; and for more information on New American Cursive and resources, visit www.newamericancursive.com.