International Left Handers Day

August 14, 2016

I'm compelled to write today. Today is August 13th - International Left Handers Day. This holiday sounds like a perfect excuse to pick up your fountain pen and write. If you're right-handed like me, you could do something silly like what I've been doing lately and try to learn to write left-handed! It's something I've always wanted to be able to do and I have, what I think, are three very good reasons. The first, and most important reason is that I think it will be fun! The second reason is that I think it will force me to use a part of my brain that I very seldom use. Maybe I'll even make a few new synapse connections! The third, and pretty morbid reason, is that what if I was in a horrible accident and lost the use of my right hand? Or, more likely, what if I developed a bad case of arthritis in my right hand and needed to use my left hand every now and then to give my right hand a break?

 

So I've gone back to the basics, just like primary school, and have been practicing my loops and curls, my ABC's, and have been writing really, really slowly! One of the very funny and unexpected side effects that have occurred from writing so slowly has been my sudden inability to spell. It's strange, but I have never thought about the fact that when I write with my right hand, very rarely do I think about how to spell a word unless it's something really difficult, like rodomontade. This is a great word that I learned from reading a book called "Poison Pen" by Sheila Lowe, a mystery book about a Forensic Handwriting expert that helps police solve crimes. The word means "boastful or inflated talk or behavior" which I think is a perfect word to describe our current political climate.

 

But when I write with my left hand, I have to write so slowly and concentrate on the formation of every single letter one at a time. And as a result, I often find myself stumped on some of the easiest words - words that I have known how to spell for many, many years. Or at least that's what I thought! But if I don't write slowly, I can't write neatly. And what's the point of learning to write left handed if no one can read it or it's so ugly no one can stand to read it?

 

Besides the basic loops and curls and ABC's, I've also been making up a few fun limericks to go with each letter I practice. For example, if I'm writing my capital and small case cursive A's, I might make up a sentence like: "Armored astronauts are always acting absurd and awkward." Or, one of my favorites, using the letter Z: Zaftig, zonked zombies ziplined zigzaggedly zooming by as they zeroed in on the zapping zone." And one more, just for fun for the letter J: "Jumping jacks jostled June's juicy jugs jarringly."

 

So whether your left-handed or not, go ahead and celebrate International Left Handers Day (It's OK if you're late!) and write anyway. Any excuse is a good excuse to pick up your fountain pen.

 

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