I write in my journal, basically, every day. I use a combination of styles to craft my—

…honestly, I’m freaking out watching the computer turn my keystrokes into this INSANELY perfect penmanship. Sorry.

—to craft my journal entries as a snapshot of my mood in addition to recording the written content. No I’m not going to share my journal here.

I generally go pages and pages and pages of writing without making a mistake. I write in ink. (Although, I did take a 2-year foray into writing in pencil—ick.) When I make a mistake, I simply place a single line through the mistake and move on. I picked up this habit from working in laboratory notebooks when I was a physics student; mistakes, especially if you go on to redo the work correctly, are part of the work and part of the record of your work. So in a lab notebook, you never remove a page, and you simply draw a single diagonal line through your mistakes. And then you move on. It occurs to me that’s also a great life lesson.

This morning, I tried to write the word “He”, but I flubbed the strokes of the “H” and got something that looked more like the word, “the.” Without the slightest hesitation, I lightheartedly crossed it out, and began to rewrite “He.” I made the first downward stroke of the “H”—mind you this all happened in a split-second—and when I lifted my pen at the bottom of that stroke I couldn’t remember how to write a cursive, capital “H.”

What followed was an hour-long detour into the bowels of the Internet. First I had to figure out which cursive writing style I use. I’ve no idea what I learned in ’76; it just comes out of the end of the pen when I think writing. The best I could do was look through how-to writing worksheets until—stroking the letters in my mind (get your mind out of the gutter)—I found one that seemed right. Then I looked at the H. Then I flipped back through a bunch of pages looking for one of my Hs. To my flabbergasted astonishment I’ve been cheating. I’ve been writing a block letter capital H, when I need a “He,” “However,” or “Hellion.”

In the end I learned three lessons:

  1. How to correctly stroke a cursive, capital H, and for good measure I brushed up on—see what I did there?—my capital K, since they are dangerously similar.
  2. OMG don’t ever try to think about something that you normally do fluidly without thinking. I hurt my neck and nearly broke my wrist in all of this.

    And of course there’s a sub-reddit for it…

    …it took every ounce of my will to not take up penmanship for penmanship’s sake.