Of all the regrettable things I produce in the course of a day--sulfurous farts, careless/thoughtless words to my wife, aggressive driving maneuvers--the thing I hate the most is my handwriting. Somewhere along the line in my primary education I was never schooled on beautiful penmanship. The only cursive writing I ever mastered was my signature. And when I say "mastered," I mean I've perfected the illegible scribble which can be splashed across a dotted line in 2.4 seconds.
My handwriting is a thing of ugliness: squat, misshapen letters: "e"s with imperfect loops, "t"s that look like they have scoliosis, capital "D"s that have way too much flair and ego. It's painful for me to look at a page of my scrawls.
But I'm fascinated by the handiwork of other writers. Flavorwire recently unveiled a gallery of handwriting samples from the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, Marilynne Robinson and Edith Wharton. This is like cracking open the skull and getting a peek inside to the mind of the writer, as evidenced by the flow of ink from the hand. Consider, for example, the heavy, ink-besotted cross-outs of Charles Dickens:
Or the neat-as-a-military-barracks-cot letters of John Steinbeck:
Or the upslant of Gustave Flaubert:
Or the battlemap diagrammatic arrows of Nabokov:
So, in an act of personal courage, I thought I'd give you a taste of my own irregular chicken-scratchings. These are the pages (the only pages thus far) of a novella I started about six months ago (working title: FOB Sorrow). This was an experiment, of sorts. I wanted to see if I could write a novel long-hand. You know, like they used to do in the old days. As you can see, I didn't get very far--not because of cramped hands or the horror of seeing my misshapen letters, but because I got busy and distracted. Maybe someday I'll return to FOB Sorrow. For now, this is all I have, in all its sloppy handwritten glory (you may have to click each image to enlarge for readability):