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layout: post
title: Palmer Writing Method
date: 2016-12-31 16:00:00
updated: 2017-01-01 13:00:00
coordinates: 50.86505 4.70068
proofread: no
description: Discovering Palmer’s Penmanship coursebook (1919) as a web developer
---
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<p>I am a software developer, I work on a computer, it’s what I do. Meetings are another beast though. I try to not take my laptop to meetings, even though practically all my colleagues do. I often get remarks about this: the <abbr title="Information Technology">IT</abbr> chap is the only one without a laptop. Why? Well, people tend to be busy during a meeting with all kinds of things: e-mail, chatting, working on some document, etc. not related to the actual meeting. What a waste of time. Paper to the rescue: <time datetime="2016">2016</time> is the year I started carrying around a notebook to meetings instead of a screen.</p>
<p>However, you do need a legible handwriting when taking notes with pen and paper and am not entirely happy with mine. It’s okay-ish but could be way better.</p>
<h2>Palmer’s Penmanship Budget</h2>
<p>I came across <span itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Book"><span itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person" itemprop="author"><span itemprop="name">Austin Palmer</span></span>’s <span itemprop="name">Palmer’s Penmanship Budget</span> <a itemprop="url" href="https://archive.org/details/PalmersPenmanshipBudget" title="Palmer’s Penmanship Budget @ Archive.org">course book</a></span> from <time datetime="2016">1919</time>. It’s dated, sure, but it stems from a time where “business writing” meant using pen and paper. Have a look at the examples near the end of the book, the craftsmanship is pure gold:
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<img src="../../assets/palmer_method_sample.png" alt="Palmer Method sample">
<figcaption>Sample from <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmer_Method#/media/File:Palmer_Method_sample.jpg" title="Original @ Wikipedia">Wikipedia</a></figcaption>
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<p>The book is oriented to teachers teaching penmanship to kids but the level of expertise is unseen by today’s writing standards. It’s a simplified style of the “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spencerian_script" title="Spencerian Method @ Wikipedia">Spencerian Method</a>”, which was the then standardised system of handwriting. It’s apparently a popular handwriting system in the United States but I had never heard of it.</p>
<p>The first 3 lessons in the book only talk about posture and holding your “penholder”. Not the most exciting part and I was anxious to start writing but it’s required reading. The whole point of lesson 1 to 3 is making you understand you are supposed to write with <em>arm</em> movements, not by moving your <em>wrist</em>.</p>
<p>Mind blown!</p>
<p>From there on it’s simply adopting the style by drilling, drilling and some more drilling. It’s all about getting the right slant and rhythm in your writings. I am doing daily 30” exercises for little over a week and already see big changes in my handwriting.</p>
<h2>Fountain pens</h2>
<p>This brings me to pens. Now that I am paying more attention to my handwriting I dug up my old fountain pen from secondary school, a <span itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product"><a itemprop="url" href="https://www.lamy.com/eng/b2c/safari" title="Lamy Safari product page"><span itemprop="name">Lamy Safari</span></a></span>, and dove into the wonderful world of fountain pens. My 15+ years old Safari still works flawlessly, not bad for a &euro;20 pen I never ever cleaned. Did you know you are supposed to clean fountain pens? Me neither.</p>
<p>It’s the holiday season so I had an excuse to get a new fountain pen, even though the Safari still does a perfect job: the <span itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product"><a itemprop="url" href="https://www.lamy.com/eng/b2c/2000/001" title="Lamy 2000 product page"><span itemprop="name">Lamy 2000</span></a></span>. A piston filled pen designed by <span itemscope itemprop="Person" itemtype="http://schema.org/Person"><span itemprop="name">Gerd Alfred Müller</span></span> in <time datetime="1966">1966</time> which looks like it came out this year. My dad got word of my new obsession and sent me his classic <span itemscope itemprop="Product" itemtype="http://schema.org/Product"><span itemprop="name">Pelikan Souverän</span></span>.</p>
<p>Think I caught the pen collection bug.</p>
<h2>Notes</h2>
<ul>
<li>
<span itemscope itemprop="Person" itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
The basics to
<a itemprop="url" href="http://www.paperpenalia.com/handwriting.html" title="Tips for improving your handwriting">improve your handwriting</a>
by
<span itemprop="name">Dyas A. Lawson</span>. The place to start.
</span>
</li>
<li>
<span itemscope itemprop="Person" itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
<span itemprop="name">Handy Dadroid</span>’s
<a itemprop="url" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAgYkNk5kR4&list=PLaPR0aOQ32MIbQGCqLv_mK7mTZY7g0ej9">video series</a>
on the book. Only the first few lessons but I find them more accessible than the formal English style used in the book.
</span>
</li>
<li>
Full alphabet drills and downloadable worksheets at
<a href="https://loopsandtails.com/" title="Loops &amp; Tails">Loops &amp; Tails</a>.
</li>
<li>
The
<span itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Organization"><span itemprop="name">Goulet Pen Company</span></span>’s
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/TheInkNouveau" title="The Goulet Pen Company @ YouTube">YouTube channel</a>: a treasure trove of information around fountain pens.
</li>
</ul>
<p>This post was drafted entirely by hand with my old and trusty Safari.</p>
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