Handwriting

For the discussion of language mechanics, grammar, vocabulary, trends, and other such linguistic topics, in english and other languages.

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anterovipunen
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Handwriting

Postby anterovipunen » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:26 pm UTC

This may sound stupid, but how do some people mysteriously develop a beautiful, elegant handwriting style sometime between primary school and adulthood? Do they purposefully practice or are inherently artistic (or not have computers)?

I was thinking about this the other day. I wanted to write out IF by Kipling into an awesome leather bound book i'd picked up in HK and I sat there for at least 5 minutes and then closed the book and pretty much ran away. I couldn't bear to ruin this perfect blank canvas with my childish, simple style of writing.

I wonder if you can improve handwriting when it's so ingrained from years of repetitiveness. Also i'm guessing it would take ages and be an incredibly dull and boring process.

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Re: Handwriting

Postby TaintedDeity » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:32 pm UTC

A few people I know have beautiful handwriting and, looking at their school work from a young age, it's always been that way inclined.
Ho hum. Tough luck for those of us with scruffy handwriting, I guess.
Better look up calligraphy :D
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Velifer » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:23 pm UTC

I learned Palmer method. I write like a coked out hen. Learning Spencerian has been an ambition, but I just don't put pen to paper enough. That, and I'm lazy. When envy and desire and ambition overcome laziness, I'll eventually get practicing.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby modularblues » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:49 pm UTC

Trace handwriting samples until it becomes second-nature? But by our age it's probably hard to change without a lot of determination.

Not having computers definitely helps :-P Artistic people do tend to have nicer handwriting, I found. One of my high school English teachers has a gorgeous font style. He was the one who inspired my creative writing muse.

In elementary school we were graded on penmanship big time, that forced me to develop neat handwriting... that progressively degenerated over the years...

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Re: Handwriting

Postby sje46 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:56 pm UTC

Heh. I was wondering a similar thing today, but in regards to gender (I was thinking about making a thread for it, but then I realized that that was stupid). I was wondering why girls have such different handwriting from guys, and is usually neater and rounder. It's very easy to tell when something is written by a girl. I suspect that it's all learned, but it's not like school teachers purposely teach girls to write a different way. Do girls have finer motor control or something? Is it because they write more, and thus have more practice? What kind of handwriting do transgendered people have?
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Re: Handwriting

Postby modularblues » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:05 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:Do girls have finer motor control or something? Is it because they write more, and thus have more practice? What kind of handwriting do transgendered people have?

Writing more definitely helps, and I think it also has to do with temperament and personality -- I know some guys with beautiful handwriting and some girls who scribble glyph-like undecipherables :-P Those guys are all artistically inclined, and those girls are all not, and what's interesting is that they tend to be either tomboyish or slightly awkward :-P

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Re: Handwriting

Postby GhostWolfe » Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:47 pm UTC

anterovipunen wrote:I wonder if you can improve handwriting when it's so ingrained from years of repetitiveness. Also i'm guessing it would take ages and be an incredibly dull and boring process.

One of my calligraphy reference books includes this gem of advice:
To write beautifully takes moments longer.

My day-to-day scrawl is sometimes so incomprehensible that even I can't read it; however, I can write in a plump and neat print, a thin and spidery cursive, and I know several calligraphy alphabets.

Just practice. I've changed the way I create certain letterforms, just by being aware of what I was writing until it became second nature. Dull is subjective. I love calligraphy, so practicing letterforms isn't all that boring to me.

Additionally, when you want to do something like writing in the book you have, create some sample/mock-ups on scrap paper first. That way you can practice your letters and do the layout before you touch your fancy book :)

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Re: Handwriting

Postby ntietz » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:41 pm UTC

One thing that I've noticed that probably has an impact on it: handedness. I'm a lefty, and my handwriting is terrible, because I was taught by a right handed teacher in a right handed class, so I was told to "just do it backwards" -- as a result, I decided I wanted to be able to see what I was writing, so I wrap my hand around and write from above the paper. It's kind of awkward. However, since I wrote mostly in print (except when required by school) until I was a junior in high school, I was able to learn to write legibly in cursive in about a month when preparing for AP English by writing out practice essays, and I then converted my daily writing to it for legibility.

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:50 pm UTC

My handwriting is neat but quite rounded--like my printing. My basic writing is a half and half mix of print and cursive that I used for note-taking in highschool and university. It's legible but sort of messy.

Re. Chickenscratch/pretty writing and genders--the two people with the prettiest handwriting in my circle of friends are both male, one is a fountain pen addict, the other just really liked the teacher he had in grade 3 so tried to impress her. :P Boys do develop gross motor more than fine motor usually in early childhood, which is when our writing develops, so I could see that as a possible explanation. But I know lots of girls with chickenscratch too.

In highschool lots of girls prettify their writing by careful deliberation--you know cutesy things etc. It's all deliberately learned/practiced.

I just need to learn how to slant my handwriting properly--the trouble is ball point pens don't mind how you use them, fountain pens are most precise when the handwriting is done properly.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Kizyr » Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:11 pm UTC

I've actively worked on my handwriting to improve it. One thing that did help was learning Japanese; after practicing repeated writing of several hundred characters, it became much easier to write in general. (Actually, to this day, despite being a very fast typist, I still greatly prefer to handwrite my papers. Technical writing is another matter though.)

My own style isn't flowing and stylized, though; I go for straight lines and organization instead (that also was intentional). I've been complimented on it before.

Although, there's a big difference in my own notes and in what I write for others to read. My own notes are extremely small, tightly organized, with lots of symbols and graphs. Those aren't really examples of good handwriting, since the goal is to record information quickly rather than to present it. Nonetheless, getting used to writing a whole lot still helps when you want to make it look good as well. KF
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Re: Handwriting

Postby GhostWolfe » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:40 pm UTC

To expand on the quote I mentioned early, one of the keys to writing well is the speed at which you write. My day-to-day is horrific because I try to write very quickly. If I slow down just a little, it makes a whole world of difference.

I also suggest looking at different styles of handwriting and finding one that you want to emulate. Having something to copy from helps.

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Chicostick » Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:47 pm UTC

I have pretty terrible handwriting when it comes to things like taking notes in a class. I write extremely fast, so I tend to take really thorough notes that include as much as I can without using to much shorthand. But reading it after can be difficult.

However, if I make an effort, I can write some pretty nice looking stuff. Personally if I want to write a letter and have it look aesthetically pleasing, I write it in cursive and slow down a bit. It tends to come out looking much better than my usual chicken scratch. Strangely enough, if I really concentrate I can completely change my handwriting style, changing the characteristics of all the tell tale letters and write something that doesn't even look like mine. I did this once when taking notes at some meeting I had to attend for a journalism class, and later I couldn't find the notes cause the handwriting looked so different I didn't think it was mine :lol:

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Vohu Manah » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:12 am UTC

My hand-writing used to resemble cave drawings, but I was able to get it to look presentable after a couple of weeks of practice. The biggest thing that helped me was to write with my arm, not my fingers. Instead of 'drawing' the letters and using the muscles in your hand, focus on moving your arm and shoulders. This makes the letters less cramped.

Or just pay some kid to be your scribe. Make him wear 15th century clothing and give him a tablet and quill pen. Every time he doesn't call you 'Sir' or 'Madam', dock his pay by 15 shillings.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Skythe » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:20 am UTC

I looked back at my old school work from 3rd grade and it seems I have basically the same handwriting. ('cept my J's are different).
Probably it's a neurological/coordination thing. It's not something that a bunch of practice will change it drastically.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby sje46 » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:22 am UTC

Skythe wrote:It's not something that a bunch of practice will change it drastically.
Citation needed.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Bobber » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:01 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
Skythe wrote:It's not something that a bunch of practice will change it drastically.
Citation needed.

Yeah. Judging from other posts in this thread, I'd say there's a lot of evidence to the contrary, Skythe.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby ashgray » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:46 pm UTC

Does how your parents write also have an effect? I virtually never saw either of my parents' handwriting growing up (especially my dad's), but my handwriting now looks almost exactly half-way between theirs.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby GhostWolfe » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:50 pm UTC

To some extent I imagine it could, but I'm assuming that your parents helped you learn to write.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this... just the fact that everyone I know who has been in the army has almost identical handwriting, and that in the strange world in my head, that makes perfect sense.

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Rammi » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

When I was in primary school, my handwriting was ugly-looking, but it was always readable.
My mother, who has beautiful cursive handwriting, convinced me to change the way I wrote my fs when I was learning how to join up my letters. Didn't mean my handwriting was any nicer, but at least I had pretty fs!
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So, in a way, my parents did influence the way I wrote, because my subconscious made me choose the font that looked most like my mother's handwriting.

Next task: Becoming ambidextrous!

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Ouch.jars » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:10 pm UTC

ntietz wrote:One thing that I've noticed that probably has an impact on it: handedness. I'm a lefty, and my handwriting is terrible, because I was taught by a right handed teacher in a right handed class, so I was told to "just do it backwards" -- as a result, I decided I wanted to be able to see what I was writing, so I wrap my hand around and write from above the paper. It's kind of awkward. However, since I wrote mostly in print (except when required by school) until I was a junior in high school, I was able to learn to write legibly in cursive in about a month when preparing for AP English by writing out practice essays, and I then converted my daily writing to it for legibility.


When I learned at primary school, the teachers did absolutely nothing to accommodate my left-handedness and as a result I can barely read my own handwriting to this day. Now, later in my education, I need to write slowly if I want my work to be legible, but if I take the time to do that my work will be late. I try to type things as often as possible.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby olubunmi » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:34 pm UTC

Rammi wrote:
Next task: Becoming ambidextrous!


I am ambidextrous >_>

I'm originally left-handed, but last February I got a really nasty injury in my left hand. I'm actually still not 100% recovered.
As I couldn't write with my left hand anymore, I decided to teach myself writing with my right hand.
I started doing the most basic exercises, and it was really frustrating at first. But after a few weeks it got pretty legible.
I can't say it's a really nice handwriting, but it's sufficient for my teachers.

Now I'm learning myself how to write with my left hand again as I can't really write for more then 30 seconds right now (doing next to nothing for 10 months costs a lot of endurance).

edit: I write in 2 different fonts with my hands. At the moment, my right hand font is pretty fast and not really legible, while my left hand font is much nicer, but also takes longer to write.

Are there any other ambidextrous people here?

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Vohu Manah » Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:21 am UTC

olubunmi wrote:Are there any other ambidextrous people here?

It's what happens when you get really, really bored in science class.
I can't write cursive with my right hand, but block style letters come out legibly. One weird thing I've noticed is that all the ambidextrous people I know were originally left-handed.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby JCM » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:36 am UTC

I'm pretty well at printing, but I do so little cursive that I seem to only be able to sign my name. :cry:

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Knightshire » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:01 am UTC

sje46 wrote: Do girls have finer motor control or something? Is it because they write more, and thus have more practice?

I read somewhere that girls have relatively thicker fingers. It can be tested by putting on a glove while writing. That said, I think that your hand structure can have an impact on your handwriting: I have fairly long fingers, sometimes I have trouble with comfortably holding a pen, while having a very messy handwriting.

A few years ago I tried to improve it by training. However, then I started studying physics where I rarely need to write something longer than a sentence. For everything longer than a sentence I use a computer. So I don't think I will ever improve.

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Re: Handwriting

Postby clair » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:09 am UTC

I have always despised my handwriting, both printing and cursive. I tried to change it at one point, because I hated it so much, and now I've retained some of the 'new' font and gone back into my old one, and it looks even worse. I use cursive most of the time because it's a bit better, but looks like a school sample book of cursive.

The person with the most beautiful handwriting I know is an artist. The person with the most interesting but simple handwriting I know is an architect.

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:55 pm UTC

When I was a senior in high school, I had to do a retarded amount of writing on notecards every week, so I just kinda decided to change my handwriting. I like what it looks like now, borrowing heavily from the stereotypical irish gaelic font, and syriac. A good question I suppose would be, who here lets their d's trail off towards the top right in the old poet-style, and who brings the stem back down to the base line?

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Re: Handwriting

Postby ihope127 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:08 am UTC

By far the most interesting handwriting I've ever seen was my high school English teacher's. His capital letter Y looked like a football goal post with a loop on every corner and a couple of extra lines sticking out of the middle for good measure, to say nothing of his other letters. Receiving our graded essays became a ritual wherein the students would take turns asking him why he doesn't simply write like he does on the blackboard ("I print on the blackboard!") and asking him for decryptions.

Having read this thread, I have resolved to only write in D'Nealian and uppercase from now on. So far, I have written two words, "The" and "The".
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Velifer » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:21 pm UTC

http://www.annakoren.com/handwriting-analysis-of-serial-killers.html
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Meteorswarm » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:http://www.annakoren.com/handwriting-analysis-of-serial-killers.html
Train yourself to write like this! Impress your friends! Disturb your coworkers!


I don't know, the reasoning behind the author's judgements seems more like hocus-pocus to me and less like actual science. Handwriting analysts should analyze handwriting, not try to be psychotherapists at the same time.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Velifer » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:35 pm UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:the reasoning behind the author's judgements seems more like hocus-pocus to me and less like actual science. Handwriting analysts should analyze handwriting, not try to be psychotherapists at the same time.


Yeah, the methods are a bit subjective, and that site really doesn't delve much, but what would be the point of handwriting analysis? Oooh! She makes loops that are 32% larger than the average... that's statistically significant at p=.05! This means we should... er... um... have her write our invitations out? Graphology is about building a personality profile. "serial murderer" isn't a diagnosis, it's a type construct. The pop-psych flavor is weird, yes--is it that which bothers you?

The part that bothers me? Oh, nothing. Nothing AT ALL. (I'm really glad all this online stuff gets typed!)
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Re: Handwriting

Postby OrangeAipom » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:53 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:
Velifer wrote:http://www.annakoren.com/handwriting-analysis-of-serial-killers.html
Train yourself to write like this! Impress your friends! Disturb your coworkers!


I don't know, the reasoning behind the author's judgements seems more like hocus-pocus to me and less like actual science. Handwriting analysts should analyze handwriting, not try to be psychotherapists at the same time.

There are too many spelling errors on this for me to take it seriously. They do look cool, though. X) I wish I could write awesomely. Though, it says they wrote slowly so I guess I don't have to worry too much.

Invented letters? That means... Walt Disney.

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Bobber » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:13 am UTC

In his mind, he most definitely felt the opposite, referring to himself as a,"real itallion stallion". In realityt , he was a cold blooded psychopath.
Yeah it does have a large amount of typos. It's still cool, though. Reminds me of phrenology or something.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby tastelikecoke » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:01 pm UTC

My Handwriting is a bit nice, but I touched a computer since 4. It has something to do with my attempts to copy a computer font.

When I wrote of cursive writing back when, they say it was unintelligible. Since then I hated cursive writing.

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Re: Handwriting

Postby Bobber » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:48 pm UTC

You're not a native English speaker, are you?
I don't twist the truth, I just make it complex.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Monika » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:16 pm UTC

The two main things for writing prettier have been mentioned: Write more slowly, practise.

But one thing is missing: The pen. It is much harder to write pretty (prettily?) with a ball-point pen / biro, because you have to press down. Fountain pens and fineliners (do you say fineliner in English or is this another pseudo-English word in German?) make pretty hand-writing much easier, and pencils and felt-tip pens are okay, too.


Regarding other posts in this thread: While usually girls / women write more neatly and many left-handed kids and adults have trouble writing legibly, my left-handed hubby has one of the neatest hand-writings I have ever seen. I hope he does not have a secret identity of a serial killer ;) .
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Re: Handwriting

Postby King Author » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:02 pm UTC

Why hasn't anyone posted a sample of their own handwriting yet? Notice I don't dot i's or j's or use apostrophes. Also, I don't put the extra line in r's, m's or n's. Unusually (I've never seen it in anyone else) I slur "de" into one letter. In other words, my handwriting, like my love-making and my murdering, is tailored for speed, not eloquence.

Show us how bad your handwriting really is, anterovipunen. I'll bet it's no worse than mine (which looks sort of killery, despite my efforts).
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Monika » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:29 pm UTC

What does it say? I read: "Hello, people of the intertubes. I can't decide on what to write. I thought maybe "Mary had a little lamb" but that ??? seem too serial-killer ?? creepy, of which I am not. Hugs and kisses, Author." But the "of" in "of which I am not" does not fit.
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Bobber » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:56 am UTC

Monika wrote:What does it say? I read: "Hello, people of the intertubes. I can't decide on what to write. I thought maybe "Mary had a little lamb" but that ??? seem too serial-killer ?? creepy, of which I am not. Hugs and kisses, Author." But the "of" in "of which I am not" does not fit.
First one's "...little lamb", but that'd seem...".
Not sure about the d-like character after serial-killer. Serial-killerd is just odd.

I think it's cool how you also slur le in people into one character. Also it's interesting that the a in "had" in "Mary had a..." is so small. Actually all your as are pretty small. Another interesting letter is the m in "am" in "...which I am not." It's the same crippled m as the one in "lamb", but in "maybe" it looks more like a regular m, which suggests that you only write out the m in its full shape when it is word initial.
Finally the o in "to" in "what to write" is just so small that it might as well be a period. Cool.

You have a pretty legible hand writing compared to the speed at which it seems you wrote that; of course I can't know how quick you were but it just seems that way. It's not displeasing or anything to read, actually there are a lot of rounded shapes which is something that I like in a person's handwriting.
I don't twist the truth, I just make it complex.
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Monika
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Re: Handwriting

Postby Monika » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:04 am UTC

So, Bobber, tell us - is King Author a serial killer? 8)
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King Author
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Re: Handwriting

Postby King Author » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:55 pm UTC

Oh, sorry, I forgot how bad my handwriting is. It says...
"Hello, people of the intertubes. I cant decide on what to write. I thought maybe "Mary had a little lamb" but that'd seem too serial-killery creepy, of which I am not. ~ Hugs and kisses, Author"
I see how that 'y' looks like a 'd' in killery; I drag my pencil, my lines aren't clean and discrete.

Bobber wrote:
Monika wrote:What does it say? I read: "Hello, people of the intertubes. I can't decide on what to write. I thought maybe "Mary had a little lamb" but that ??? seem too serial-killer ?? creepy, of which I am not. Hugs and kisses, Author." But the "of" in "of which I am not" does not fit.
First one's "...little lamb", but that'd seem...".
Not sure about the d-like character after serial-killer. Serial-killerd is just odd.

I think it's cool how you also slur le in people into one character. Also it's interesting that the a in "had" in "Mary had a..." is so small. Actually all your as are pretty small. Another interesting letter is the m in "am" in "...which I am not." It's the same crippled m as the one in "lamb", but in "maybe" it looks more like a regular m, which suggests that you only write out the m in its full shape when it is word initial.
Finally the o in "to" in "what to write" is just so small that it might as well be a period. Cool.

You have a pretty legible hand writing compared to the speed at which it seems you wrote that; of course I can't know how quick you were but it just seems that way. It's not displeasing or anything to read, actually there are a lot of rounded shapes which is something that I like in a person's handwriting.

Yay! Your lettin' me be m'self! Though the "what to write" tiny-o-so-small-it-looked-like-a-period was just sloppiness and inconsistency. Most of my o's are like those in "decide on" and "seem too."

Interestingly (maybe), I'm excellent at forging signitures.
...
*monotone* Not that I would ever abuse that power in a way that infringes any of the laws of the great United States of America.

>_>'
I have signitures disabled. If you do, too...you can't read this, so nevermind >_>


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