This is not a guide to good handwriting. You’ll find no do’s and don’ts, no dotted lines here. If that’s what you’re looking for, try Cursive First, a workbook force-fed to me at the age of eight, when the nuns tried to mold my hand around the rubber pencil grip of conformity.
What you’re reading is the final copy of The Scriptological Review, a journal dedicated to the social analysis of handwriting. Our inaugural issue appeared two years ago, with a cover story titled “Slanty Signatures and Secret Turmoil: the Correlation Between High Cursive Slant and Low Self Esteem.” In this, we analyzed a letter from John Wilkes Booth, whose cursive was brambled with signals that the lay-reader would likely ignore, such as intra-letter gaps and distended a’s and o’s.
If you’re still reading, then it’s likely that you are a subscriber and a scriptophile, but for the remaining fraction who have happened upon this issue on a bus seat or in a dentist’s office (or propping open a window, as I found my mother’s copy of Volume IV) let me introduce myself.
My name is Vijay Pachikara, and I am presently the editor of The Scriptological Review. My mom is listed in the masthead as “publisher-at-large,” but all she provides is the funding and the office space. I set up shop in her basement a year ago, and the commute from my bedroom couldn’t be better.
As long as my mom handles the funding, I don’t mind if she wants to wile away her time with her boyfriend, Kirk Bäumler. Kirk is reliable and handy, like a good garden tool, a man of patience and resolve, who once felled a cedar tree on his property and fashioned it into a dugout canoe. There may be much to admire about men like Kirk, but his handwriting tells another story.
Consider the narrowness of the e-loops, so sharp that they verge on lower-case i’s, a recurring sign of neediness. Also note the castrated y.