Handwriting

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I got a letter in the mail from a friend back in the States. This may possibly be the first personal letter I’ve received in decades. Business correspondence not included, of course. My friend is a Luddite – she has no internet at home, no smartphone and no email address. Anytime she absolutely needs the internet, she visits the local library. I cannot imagine living this way! However, if I’m going to be a good friend and keep in touch, I must respond with a physical letter of my own. And this I did today.

In an interesting little twist, I realized that despite being able to type up a letter to send, I have no way of printing it. I’ve come to depend so much on digital everything, that I don’t even keep hard copies of my own documents. Honestly, if the cloud ever goes down I am positively doomed. But really, I hate collecting paper. I was therefore, compelled to write by hand this letter to my friend.

How often do we actually use handwriting anymore? Besides our signatures, there are few opportunities to ‘write’ at length. My GP and dentist all use electronic forms. Nevertheless, I still hand write often. And strangely, I like my own handwriting. I have kept notebooks for all my writing projects and I nearly wrote the entire first draft of my first book in a series of notebooks. Some things are just better with pen and ink. I wonder though, if the following generations will use handwriting at all. And if they do, if it will be a form of block printing? I hear they’ve stopped teaching cursive handwriting in schools. And if that’s the case, will future generations no longer be able to decipher a document written in cursive?

It makes me a little nostalgic – writing by hand. I think of all the beautiful lines of poetry, the masterful works of fiction, the powerful speeches and philosophical treatises written by hand before being set to type for printing. I hope that somehow this fading skill will not be thrown in the dustbin of history. At least not in my lifetime!

 

In Plain Sight – A Short Story

People are oblivious. In my case, it was a good thing. As long as I kept up the normal routine, no one noticed that Marty had disappeared. Even after the sale sign went up in front of the house, the neighbors weren’t suspicious. “Where y’all headed?” they would ask. “Moving closer to the in-laws now that they’re getting up in years,” I’d answer. And that would be the end of it.

The human body has 206 bones, 79 organs, as well as muscle, connective tissue, and fat. Marty was a big man so he took a long time to dispose of. I started by draining the five liters of blood. It was a struggle to prop him up in the bathtub, but I’m a strong woman and the adrenaline was still pumping at that point. My hand shook as I severed the femoral artery.

After that, I separated the limbs and the head with my sharpest knife and wrapped them up in the freezer. That left the torso with it’s mass of organs and fat. I put my oven and my largest stock pots to work, cooking up a stew that fed the dogs for weeks. Still, nobody was missing Marty.

I kept the window washing business going all by myself. Sure it took a little longer now that I was doing it alone but I managed to keep our clients satisfied. “Where’s your other half?” someone would occasionally ask. “He’s off on another job,” I’d answer. And that would be the end of it.

Each time I went out —to work, to the supermarket, to grab lunch at McDonald’s, a small bag would go into the public trash can. That way, I disposed of a few of Marty’s bones at a time. They were dry and well wrapped so that no one would ever discover them in amongst the rest of the landfill debris.

It’s funny how fast I was able to recover our finances now that Marty wasn’t drinking away all our income. I was able to sell all the frivolous items he’d bought over the years too. The big screen TVs, the stereo equipment and the overpriced, underpowered “classic” Mustang he’d bought to restore. Even I knew the 90’s were a bad decade for Mustangs.

It took a full year. But it was time well spent. I slowly put everything in my name. It was easier than you might think. Even selling the house, I told the realtor my husband had to go on ahead to care for his sick parents and he’d left it all to me. It turns out you can have your contracts signed electronically which meant I could sign an approximate version of Marty’s signature for him. Nobody raised an eyebrow.

When it was done, I hauled all the furniture to an auctioneer and sold it for whatever I could. I packed the dogs and my clothes in the back of my old Jeep and drove west, not knowing where we’d land but knowing anywhere was better than here.

People are oblivious. No one ever noticed the bruises on my legs or the burn marks on my arms. Or how I kept my hair over one blackened eye or the other. For twenty years, I wished that someone would pay attention but no one ever did. Lucky for me, no one decided to start now.

I plead insanity …

How long has it been?!? I have been an atrocious blogger the last several weeks, maybe months. And I’ve been terrible at reading, visiting and commenting at all your lovely blogs as well. But now its a new year, time for new goals and getting back to business. I promise to visit everyone soon!

I finished up 2019 by doing a lot of reading. I tackled some heavy hitters this year and fell one short of meeting my GoodReads challenge of 30 books. Still, considering the weight of some of the material I covered, it’s a pretty good show. I tackled The Divine Comedy with notes, The Tragedy of the Templars: The Rise and Fall of the Crusader States, The Art of Memory, The Stranger, The Plague and One Hundred Years Of Solitude, just to name a few.

The second half 2019 was insane, there’s no other way to put it. I’m in a new country, new house, finding new friends and my way around unfamiliar territory, physically, mentally and emotionally. But it’s good. It really is.

The move consumed a lot of time and energy and it prevented me from writing and posting here on the blog. That changes now. I am back to writing this week. I have an editing project to work on and another one possibly after that. The very act of working on writing, even though it’s someone else’s material, has given me the inspiration to get started on my own work again.

So this year, I’ll be sharing more of my World War One research, updates on the historical novel, bits and pieces of writing advice/mistakes, and an occasional piece of art. I’m not going to try any challenges this year, though. That became a bit of a burden last year. I am going to try and keep any artwork that I do relevant to my historical work. For example, characters I encounter in research or events set during the Great War.

I hope you all are well and that 2020 is off to a good start. Happy writing and productive editing!