Today, I took the laptop to lunch to do some writing and didn’t realize that the battery was close to dead, so I wasn’t able to work on the project I’d planned to work on.  When I mentioned this on Twitter, someone pointed out that I could’ve just written it by hand and transcribed it later.  This actually doesn’t work well for me.  Let me explain.

I kinda got screwed in the handwriting department.

Right when everyone was first learning how to draw the alphabet on that brown paper with the lines on it?  I had a broken hand.  That was the first set back for me.

We were living in Berwyn (suburb of Chicago) at the time, and my mom and aunt were sitting on the porch of our brownstone in the early evening (or at least, that’s how I remember it).  I was sitting in a comfy chair just inside one of the storm windows over looking the porch.  I was playing around, leaning into the window to talk to them, resting my arm on the sill, and I managed to kick loose the stick holding the storm window open.

Down it crashed.  I remember seeing my hand swelling up and thinking that it just shouldn’t do that, your hand should not even be able to swell that way, and yet – there it was.  Swelling up.  Essentially, a mountain was forming on the back of my hand, growing and expanding.

My mom and aunt freaked out, of course.  I was screaming my head off.  They rushed me to the bathroom, filled the sink with water and ice and plunged my hand in.  We ended up having to go to the doctor, I got a cast and, for a while there I was unable to hold a pencil or write in my right hand.

So I switched to my left.  Smart, right?  My dad didn’t think so.  He forbid it – actually forbid it. He even went to the school and told the nuns they were not to let me even think about writing with my left hand.  This meant that I was instantly behind everyone else when it came to writing.

Fast forward to cursive.  Didn’t do so well there.  Never really caught up, started doing weird things that had my teachers scratching their heads and calling my mom in for conferences. (“Um, Mrs. Hester – did YOU teach Patrick to make a capital H this way?”  “No.  This is how I do it. *puts a capital H on the paper*”  “Strange.  We didn’t teach him this either.  So where did he learn it?”  *all eyes turn to me* “Um…  Magic?”  Interesting side note – there aren’t a lot of nuns who appreciate my sense of humor…)

This resulted in my handwriting becoming a thing of legend amongst the adults.  Aunts & Grandmothers would whisper in awe that I would most definitely be a doctor when I grew up because, well, look at the handwriting!

(I didn’t become a doctor.  I let Blake Charlton have that.  I’m cool that way.)

So, the idea of hand writing out stuff (which I admit that I have done in the past.  I once turned in a massive paper to my sophomore year college prep English teacher that had been hand written, not in cursive, and at what would amount to about a 3 point font size today so it fit on just 1 page, double sided) and then transcribing it (something else I have ATTEMPTED to do and have come to HATE WITH A FIERY PASSION THAT BURNS DEEP WITHIN MY CHEST) – not particularly appealing to me.

Here – I offer you a page from my work notebook (the keeper of all things, that which is never out of my sight and contains all things I am to do on a day to day basis):

Click for a larger view

As you can see – pretty bad handwriting.

So, when you suggest that I could’ve handwritten stuff at lunch, you are correct.  I could’ve.  But I wouldn’t have enjoyed it and it never would’ve been transcribed so I might as well put it off til I have something electronic to type it on.



  • Caroline Posted July 21, 2010 2:05 am

    Just looks like techy-guy’s type handwriting to me. Actually, kind of like a cross between my brother’s handwriting and my husband’s. With a sprinkling of extra illegibility thrown in because, yaknow, you’re cool like that.

    • Patrick Hester Posted July 21, 2010 12:20 pm

      ‘With a sprinkling of extra illegibility’ 😉

      did you get my message about ‘bubble and squeak’?


  • MPax Posted July 21, 2010 11:37 am

    Actually, it looks more legible than mine. Do most writers have bad penmanship? I know my fellow scribes are as bad as me. I can barely makeout their notes of feedback.

    • Patrick Hester Posted July 21, 2010 12:20 pm

      I honestly don’t know – that would be an excellent question maybe for Twitter – get a little feedback.

      half the time I can’t even read my own notes when I go back to them. Sigh.


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