Why? Why would anyone in the world NOT want to put pen to paper? To reach out, to inform, to entertain or to explain themselves via the written word? I had never understood those who didn’t like to write.
Until I bred a family of aliens. (Although they think that it is I, who happens to be the odd one out…)
I started this blog after a bit of a personal journey. One that involved having to do rather a lot of swotting up about dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia. Not dysentry so far – although my other half now tells me that he was admitted to hospital with this as a toddler. So we seem to have ticked that box too (no jokes about this not being too much of a surprise, what with him being from Birmingham and everything. He is very sensitive about anti-Brummie jibes.)
Thanks to the lovely people from the charity Potential Plus UK, I’ve learned lots about human intelligence and learning differences. And I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way who, on the ‘trickier’ days, remind me that the brightest sparks in the world often struggle with the bizarre cobbled-together thing that we call the english language – and which is a never-ending battle for those with dyslexia.
So, that’s all very nice for me. But when you’re the little kid and you look around and see everyone else doing the 3 R’s beautifully, it really can sap your confidence. My own gal looks at me writing away (by hand, or keyboard) and often sits there saying “Oh…I wish I could do that…I wish that I could write like you can!” I try not to answer back “well, practice makes perfect”- because let’s face it. It doesn’t always. And there is nowt worse than someone for whom something comes so easily, telling you that *you* just need to try harder.
But a couple of weeks ago I had a little idea in order to Up The Writing Ante for my girl. Following a bit of a mum-daughter spat, I chucked a notebook at her (not literally – although I was quite tempted to at the time…) and said “Look! Just write a diary! Write about how horrible and mean I am in it. It will make you feel better. It certainly worked for me when your grandparents were being being particularly evil and acting like the worst parents ever.”
She warmed to the idea (apart from the fact that she had to actually *write*.) And then came idea number two. It suddenly occurred to me that kids today are missing out on what truly was a Rite of Passage in the writing stakes. When we were nippers, at our schools in Manchester (probably all over the UK), we all had to write in pencil – until our writing had become neat enough in order that we were ‘allowed’ to use a fountain pen.
Oh the pride – the sheer joy – of choosing your first little fountain pen! Shall it be a long cartridge sort? Or shall I use a pen that goes with the short stubby little ones? Do I want to use a pointy nib? Or a flat-tipped one so that I can make my letters look all-medieval scripty?
I started getting all dreamy, waxing lyrical about those fond recollections… and then she goes;
“What’s a fountain pen?” So it was off to the shops for me.
Two weeks later we have a kid who every night, writes her diary religiously. “Because it feels so beautiful and smooth with the ink flowing. I can’t stop writing! I love it now!”
So sure – give me your ipads and your computer keyboards and your wii things. But let us not forget that some of the oldies are the best. And if you struggle with holding a pen and letter formation – then using the ancient methods might well be the preferred choice for you and yours…
So. WHAT’S A FOUNTAIN PEN?
It’s a dying breed, it is. It needs to be resurrected.
(And – as child number 2 noted “It’s really cool cause you can shake the ink everywhere. And probably stab someone with it!”)
(PS *** EDITED VERSION OF MY DAUGHTER’S DIARY AND LETTERS ARE ONLY SHOWN HERE. I WOULD NOT WANT TO SHARE THE FULL HORRORS OF HER LIFE WITH MY DELICATE READERS.***)