I’LL BE talking about Meghan Markle. But I need to say in advance, don’t worry. You won’t be arguing about this column on Twitter. I feel I need to make this clear because people over a certain age and of the Caucasian persuasion haven’t covered themselves in glory when they offer their two very English pennies worth on the Meghan Markle story.
It really has seemed to bring out the worst in people. Anyway that space is pretty much owned now by Lewis actor Lawrence Fox now. He is the latest 40-something to realise that when you’re not getting much acting work these days, there’s money to be made in being a nob.
No, I’ll be focusing on something else about Meghan.
I’m willing to forgive Meghan all the things she is guilty of — marrying someone from a dysfunctional family, having a child, wanting to bring that child up without the intrusion of a psychopathic, racist tabloid press — because of one small thing.
She has nice handwriting.
I know, In the greater scheme of royal things the Duchess of Canada’s handwriting is not important. And no one should give two hoots about the royal scheme of things in the grander scheme of actual important things.
Still though, when someone put up a photo online of a thank you note Meghan wrote, it went viral because obviously people still like a bit of nice handwriting.
It’s like seeing a well maintained old car or a nice bit of wrought iron. You think “oh I didn’t know they were still making those”.
She has trained as a calligrapher, so that helps. At some point many of us trained as calligraphers. And by trained, I mean we saw Gothic script somewhere once and then covered our geography schoolbooks in it. Gothic script lives on now in the mastheads of newspapers and in tattoos of childrens’ names on parents’ bodies.
My handwriting disappeared for many years. Typing turned my hands into Tyrannosaur claw. My left hand was reduced to sideline tasks like signing my name for couriers on their little consoles. Consoles designed purposely to humiliate you on your own doorstep.
It’s a pity because I was taught joined up handwriting once upon a time. Not in school but in a thing called Kilroy’s College. It was possibly the middle posh-est thing my mother did with very limited funds. For a few years around age 10 I was in a correspondence course in Irish and English grammar.
I got lessons by post and then replied by post. And they wanted it done in cursive script. I learned all the loops and ligatures that meant you were a grown up. Unfortunately, when you learn cursive writing and then it goes rusty, no one can read your handwriting. I was like a drunk doctor.
But latterly, I’ve found the paper — the Aisling 88-page coipleabhar and a pen — the uni-ball Jetstream (like a slightly inkier Bic) that works for my left claw. And my handwriting is back.
And writing-writing is much more enjoyable by hand.
I’m less self-edity. It’s as if my brain is saying, “just write it. see what happens”. Whereas when I type, the coldness of the screen makes my brain say “what is this tripe, you awful excuse for a writer? You need to stop and burn everything you’ve ever written and go away and stop annoying people. You are a bad person.”
It’s a subtle difference.