Posts Tagged ‘penmanship’

the boy who gave me writing

(being prose bordering on poetry)


my mother’s penmanship was the practised grace of her generation.

styled the way she was taught as correct, a smooth flight of pen, letter into letter, like a swan might move tracing curves of a creek.  maybe that’s what was taught as an expectation of proper hand movement for a young woman then.

maybe it was meant as a sign of obediance and acceptance within the greater whole – how, as they say, to rightly behave.  I some so surmise as that’s what they tried to teach me in my schooling too.

they tried.  tried and failed.

mother took it inside, becoming another right hand, part of knowing who she was – to us who read her mothered pen, yet more, to herself as well.  even the secretarial short-hand she later learned to craft – it carried the same regard.

not me.

oh, I learned, my writing was good and proper enough, I passed my grades, but it never belonged to me.  their pen, their paper, their script in shallow heart.

seventh or eighth grade says the clock, and Larry Mukai, that was the name. my best friend.  of rather few those days.

left-handed he was.  me, nothing in particular – stew.  so I wanted with all my intent – be like Larry, write like Larry.  I trained my right-handed me to write inside a left slanted stroke, falling the way his did naturally.  I became second-nature to my intent.  no labor at all.

yet it was still the shell for that unwelcomed school-taught-script.  still not me.  ask, and I wouldn’t have said, but the feeling was true.

maybe it was some meteorite of fallen far space, too slight to draw a crowd, yet still, landed in my finger-tips, made an accident of purposeful result.  there was probably a sign, forgotten now.

building under construction, fingers being counted still, results uncertain yet.  watch your step!

inside that mystery, script turned to block print, lord knows precisely why, with only a hint remaining to tracks in the sand.  now an upright block script that runs near so swift as anyone’s hand.

there’s the hearth, the fire, the pen come home, albeit two steps to the left of expected perhaps, and said with some slight glancing grin.

and now this day, these shapes retain their stance.


neil reid © june 2012


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