The Lost Art of the Letter: and Finding a Perfect Informal Font

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By on May 16, 2018 2:28 pm Leave your thoughts

Susan Jacoby’s “The Age of American Unreason” https://tinyurl.com/yasc7trz , is a brilliant assessment of the last 50 years of American Intellectual thought, but:

  1. It was published in Feb. 2008, which means it missed the smart phone and Donald Trump!
  2. She ends it in a bit of a rant about the relative uselessness of the screen, decries the death of reading of traditional books, and by attacking Wikipedia and espousing a return to “original sources” for research, ignored that she had no way of knowing where we would be in 10-15 or 20 years. She also disdains the 99% of us, some of who have something to say but not the time to return to physical libraries, especially in faraway places.
  3. In my life, I can find a definition, a term, a fact, a news story, a podcast, a book, the weather, directions, music, or an app, with a simple voice command. And, remember, even in the summer of 2018, “We’re just gittin’ started!”
  4. Then I found an article in Joanna Gains’ “Magnolia Journal” on the lost art of letter writing. What the author missed, for me, is that my handwriting is terrible, worse now that fingers are crabbing into permanent keyboarding devices.
  5. I will miss e-mail if it goes. Text is so brief, ridiculous in its abbreviations, and best used as evidence in nasty custody fights.
  6. As you can see here, I tend to break the rule that paragraphs should be longer than a sentence. Screens are easier to read if the writing is clear and concise.
  7. I have this thing I call a “substantive e-mail”. I can still dictate a formal letter, but for copying several people, my family, multiple counsel, my staff, and clients, or my fraternity brothers or Linsly Military School high school classmates, a well written e-mail can be invaluable.
  8. So, I am going to try to evolve my e-mail and digital writing. More concise, as I tend to ramble, but not evanescent. (A word Siri just looked up for me!)
  9. So, this morning I checked the fonts in Word 16, and searched Google for a couple more, and they are below. I want a replacement, that my distant cousin Gage, from Tasmania, who was not taught “cursive”, can read.
  10. Here is what I found? What do you think?
  11. As I spend this week with our grandchildren, ages 13 and 9, I am seeing how they use screens.
  12. Our nine-year-old grandson loves crossword puzzles, although he looks up the answers and fills in the blanks.
  13. Last night he was intensely viewing his grandmother’s iPhone. Turns out he was watching short tutorials including “How to Organize Yourself”. Who knew!?
  14. Almost every student we saw, going to and from school and practice, was looking at a screen. But they weren’t alone.
  15. I am directly aware the horrors that lurk here, bullying, loss of privacy, distraction. But that is a big subject of its own.
  16. These kids were in touch with family and friends. I realized that our granddaughter was in regular touch with her Mom, who is with Daddy on a well deserved vacation to a Caribbean Island. No more waiting by the phone hoping for a “long distance phone call.”
  17. Just like we wasted time on comic books, situation comedies, and The Hardy Boys, modern parents must learn new skills to guide the young to worthwhile sources, but we can’t push the world back to Gutenberg or Papyrus!
  18. We are on the “accelerating change train/spaceship” and we had best learn to enjoy the ride!
  19. So, which font do you want me to write you with? 
  20. jbh

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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