When I was in second grade, I had beautiful handwriting. You know why I know that? Because out 45 people in my class, I was chosen to be our class’ representative to the grade level’s handwriting competition.
I lost. I did say it was beautiful. I didn’t say it was the best.
I don’t know, but somewhere along the way, cursive writing became too tedious. My hands weren’t fast enough to catch up with my thoughts. So I resorted more and more to block letters when it comes to putting words to paper. Then I started blogging and typing and still, my wpm somehow can’t catchup to that crazy choochoo train in my brain.
In 4th year english class, in the hopes that we would be more lady-like in the convent-esque school I was attending, we were required to answer essay questions in cursive writing. I tried. I tried so hard. And I think it was too hard.
“Everybody else will write in cursive. Except Clarissa. Pag nagdikit dikit ka pa, baka ibagsak lang kita.”
Yup, it was that bad.
Over the years, I totally gave up writing in cursive. I’ve seen pretty writing on instagram and has been contented in just liking them and not actually doing them. Traumatized by my english teacher’s remarks, I have never flirted with the idea of attending workshops in calligraphy. I felt it required control, discipline in practice and steady hands — all of which are not in my arsenal. My excuse was “I like my coffee — and my coffee-laced jittery hands — to much to try that.”
I try to choose my battles.
And then we launched Kapitolyo 101, these series of workshops for urban weekend crafty adventures, and there seems to be a lot of interest in calligraphy. I’ve never attended one of those workshops, but I’ve seen some handouts lying around and I decided to give it a whirl. At this age, I just want to try anything new to keep the brain cells from disintegrating to oblivion.
Plus, calligraphy lang yan. I’ve done harder things that my 4th year high school self. Bakit ka magpapatalo sa calligraphy?
I’ve watch a Tony Robbins talk about how we learn new stuff. We don’t learn stuff out of the blue. We think we can, but we don’t. The easiest path to new learnings is to associate what you already know to stuff we know nothing about yet.
I tried it initially and my hands somewhat do not understand the concept of ordinary handwriting and modern calligraphy. I don’t know how you make thin upstrokes and thick downstroke. It’s somehow not natural for me to write that light.
And then I glanced the handout and slowly it made sense. With a very light hand, you pull the brush pen upwards and apply more pressure downwards. You don’t have to write in one continuous motion. It’s okay to break letters down. It’s alright to go slow.
And it takes practice, patience, and more practice.
I’ve moved on from brush, to felt tip brush, to nib. I’ve bought and dried up a lot of brush pens. I figured pointed pens are more forgiving for me. It’s pretty and complex and temperamental. Also, ink is inexpensive. I can write all the pretty things I want with the 200 peso seemingly bottomless jar of walnut ink.
Take that, Mrs. Gatchalian.