NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments! and often have guest bloggers.

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Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Marcelle Dube . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Monday, April 22, 2013

STANDING THERE NAKED


STANDING THERE NAKED
Have you ever considered how much your writing reveals?  I don’t mean what you write, I mean your handwriting.  How you use what your grammar school teacher called the Palmer Method.  It gives you away.  Every time.
            Take those long, loopy “y’s” and “g’s” at the end of a word when the final loop swings back up—that means you’re sensual and making the most of it.  Those “a’s” that don’t quite close?  You’re talkative, great company, but maybe, just maybe, you spill secrets.  Like what happened last night at . . .
            Is there a little hook at the beginning of capital letters such as “H,” say or “M?”  If so, you want to keep a grasp on everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.  A husband?  Those royalty checks?  Then there are people who top off their lower case “i’s” with little round circles . . . . do you do that?  Hmm.
For graphologists, hundreds of subtle nuances in strokes like these expose our well hidden selves, the ones we think we’re keeping private.  The truth is that every time we take pen to paper, the story we’re really telling, whether we know it or not, is about ourselves.
But not to worry.  The Age of Texting has arrived.  We’ve been saved by the iPad.  Or the Smart Phone.  For who writes in cursive anymore?  Writing with a pen is becoming a dying art.  In fact some schools no longer teach cursive in the beginning grades. And u can 4get about spelling while you’re at it.
For those of us who make a career out of the written word, what we say has always been the primary way we reveal ourselves to others.  So the loss of cursive writing may not affect us deeply.
Come to think of it, not having to take pen to paper may come as a big relief to a lot of people.  Take the college sophomore who recently wrote a note to his Aunt Jane.  She read it, realized he was depressed—she could tell from the way his final words drooped on the page—and told his mother to get to him immediately before something dire happened.  All he thought he’d done was write a thank you for the Christmas fruitcake.
P.S. For an excerpt  from Killer Kitchens, Jean’s  latest cozy mystery, take a peek at www.jeanharrington.com.  She didn’t take any chances at being psyched out through her penmanship though, so the whole excerpt is typed in Times New Roman. 

13 comments:

Clare London said...

A marvellous header, Jean, to a fascinating post :). I know it's almost a shock to me nowadays when I have to write for a long time by hand. I worry I'll lose the knack! And after all those years at school where they taught us painstaking italic writing *sigh*.

Elise Warner said...

Interesting post, Jean. My dad had a lovely handwriting--No--did not inherit. He made a living as a forger (completely legal.)Couldn't be done in today's world.

jean harrington said...

Clare, "italic writing'? Great phrase, not one I've seen before. And Elise, your dad was a legal forger. Wow, is there a book in that?

Handwriting analysis is a hobby of mine. When I was teaching I used to tell my students I had them all psyched out from their handwriting. Used to drive them crazy--added a certain dimension to my lectures.

Ah those were the days, a captive audience. Are mystery readers anything like that? Hmmm.

Rita said...

Jean it is a new world. Now we rely on social media to check on a person’s state of mind. We have to watch what they post. Schools no longer teach cursive writing.
In the late 80s I was in a group examining how computers would change our social lives. It was suggested we would get mail, watch movies, video conference, shop and order groceries on our computers. Social graces and abilities would disappear. We scoffed at many of these ideas.
Man were we ever wrong.
Thanks for the great and timely post.

Anne Marie Becker said...

At my kids' school, they seem to be glossing over cursive writing (after a basic introduction) and moving straight to keyboarding. The teachers explained that there are some state tests that will be partly on the computer, so they want the kids to have that literacy/typing ability before then. Seems like cursive handwriting might be a dying art?

I remember writing pages and pages of notes in college (before everyone had laptops) and now if I decide to jot notes on paper, my fingers want to cramp up after a page or two. :)

Jean Harrington said...

To all, Yes, looks like cursive is doomed. But not for me. A true confession: I write all my books in long hand--sloppy, cramped cursive--and then post the hand written pages on the computer. I find this method the most immediate. Nothing except mental density comes between me and my thoughts. Anyway, guess we all have to work out our own method of communicating. But I will miss cursive when it dies.

Toni Anderson said...

I constantly harangue my son about his handwriting, fighting the prevailing wisdom that children won't even need to write one day. Nooooo!
I love the secrets revealed by handwriting--although mine is a mess! (lol--funny that!)

Great post, Jean!

jean harrington said...

Toni if it's messy then perhaps you write quickly without taking time to embellish. A sign of a highly intelligent, no-nonsense person. On the other hand . . . just kidding.

Actually I'm basing this assumption not on your handwriting at all but on your skill with the computer, your Ph.D. and your novels with their rich plots and complex characters. How's that?

Wynter Daniels said...

Very interesting. I think I might be depressed too if I got a fruitcake as a Christmas gift;-)

Toni Anderson said...

Jean, I like it. Keep talking ;)

Marcelle Dubé said...

Interesting post, Jean. You'd never be able to make a definitive assessment of my handwriting, however. It's never the same two days in a row.

Ana Barrons said...

The way I form certain letters can change in a single paragraph, because I'm somewhere between printing and writing. I might start with a regular printed A and elsewhere do the cursive A.. What does that say about me??

jean harrington said...

Oh Marcella and Ana, You're showing similar traits. Interesting . . . And Marcelle, a definitive assessment can be made about handwriting that changes constantly. Graphology is absolutely fascinating in what it can reveal. BTW, I hide my notebooks and never let anyone see them.

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