We made it into the Toronto Star! If only as a corollary character to the main star, which is the declining glory of the handwritten signature. Cursive is dead! Let’s interview Jon Chan about it. Sir, do you have any thoughts on the terminal diagnosis of handwriting, which is, oh how interestingly, the point of your business?

 

The article goes on to outline how, with Covid and the magnificence of technology, we’re all e-signaturing about. It’s not an overly optimistic article, but it’s also not a totally pessimistic one either. It’s the reality of the world we live in, one where we are, indeed, signing our real estate contracts with little replicable digital signatures: tap, tap, tap. Actually it was really just quite nice to know that people are still thinking about things like writing, and writing by hand, and noticing how things are changing in this world. We did have one or two people discover our shop through the article, so that’s even better.

 

I am joking about our shop’s terminal diagnosis (if only between my weeping) because so many of the people who come to the shop are coming because there is a different drive to write inside of them. No one is coming to buy pens because they absolutely must sign something (except occasionally a wedding) or absolutely must write something by hand; it’s because there is something inherent in them, at least for right now, that itches for a pen in hand, to make the marks on the page with the effort of it, to sketch out an idea or to hold a notebook like a security blanket.

 

You can read the article here. As if to further make their point, in the online version they prominently feature a photo of some certain 8-year-old’s terrible handwriting, pondering whether or not some certain 8-year-old’s parents who own a stationery shop are actually going to teach him cursive, or, I suppose, anything at all.

 

 

 

 

For myself, I am not quite ambivalent about cursive, but it’s not a hill I’m going to die on. When I was a teacher, I spent a few very enjoyable hours with my students at the end of June, after report cards were in, teaching cursive. In the heat of late June, in a classroom without air conditioning and 30 marinating pre-adolescent bodies, it was quite meditative, all those loops and hills, lights off, music in the background, and it turns out that students enjoy writing by hand.

 

I do intend to attempt to teach, and to encourage my own three kids to learn to write in cursive, if only because it’s such an easily achievable skill, and not one that we’ll have to slog away on for years and years to be respectable (legible), although it might surprise (or it might not) how low my own bar is. I would love for them to have confident, lovely handwriting, but in this world ahead of them, I would more like for them to have really interesting things to write about, in whatever handwriting they end up with—adventures, thoughts, ideas, stories, experiences, feelings, tiny and large treasures and journeys.

 

 

***

 

Only a small correction for this article, although I doubt they’ll print a retraction: this is actually Caleb’s third library card, not his first. He got it in the summer, and immediately went nuts, after the horror of being library-card-less for several months. Here he is, looking exceptionally unhinged, missing tooth, arms overflowing with library material destined to be overdue, grinning at the thrill of free books once again. Before cursive, maybe his parents need to teach him how to keep track of his library cards.

 

 

All of his holds.

 

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February 01, 2023 — Liz Chan

Comments

Jen

Jen said:

Cursive is very much alive and well in some small pockets of the world. For example, in my household with two small children, and in their classrooms. I am grateful for the educators who have the flexibility and dedication to teach this dying art, and also the people and shops that make it such fun to play with cursive. Wink wink! Absolutely concur that your child’s adventures and ideas trump the use of cursive, but I’d bet that like anything else that’s beautiful, “useless” and loved by his/her parent, they will also find their unique connection and expression!

LeeAnn

LeeAnn said:

Caleb’s TPL holds are epic!! Exceeds my own greed, with Libby constantly chiding me via text, and me delaying/extending my excessive holds when she does.

I love how these pictures capture classic TPL images, one of my top two favourite things about TO. Ravines being the other one.

The Toronto Public Library and its 100 or so branches, have always been so accessible and spread out around the city. Everywhere I have lived in the city a branch has been within 4 blocks.

This week, at age 61 , I was excited to see the TPL finally updated their $3 canvas tote to a new black and white version. Grabbed two like a greedy kid. Way cooler than a New Yorker tote bag.

Note to all Toronto Tourists, the $3 Toronto Library bag is the best souvenir of our city, and library locations/ branches are super easy to find.

Caleb, you are a man after my own heart.

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