English that looks like Chinese. "At first glance, Square Word Calligraphy appears to be nothing more unusual than Chinese characters, but in fact it is a new way of rendering English words in the format of a square so they resemble Chinese characters. Chinese viewers expect to be able to read Square Word Calligraphy but cannot. Western viewers, however are surprised to find they can read it. Delight erupts when meaning is unexpectedly revealed." (Britta Erickson, The Art of Xu Bing.) [more inside]
Ann Wroe takes some time from her day job as The Economist's obituaries editor to write about handwriting.
Keyboards Are Not Like Nibs: Fountain pens - or writing instruments in general - rule. Lately though, the main manufacturers have stooped to ballpoints, gels and other madnesses. Just as the stupid calligraphy fad killed proper handwriting, the main fountain pen manufacturers have been their own hangmen. I love Pelikan but my main hearbreak is Rotring, whose rapidograph 0.10 and 0.18 and isograph 0.20 (this latter line now sadly reduced to college sets) are my favourite scratching sticks. Are you holding a torch for any of those legendary manufacturers (Parker, Waterman, Cross, Schaeffer, Aurora, Lamy et caetera) who have gone down the drain? What glides your writing hand? Is the pseudish, unpardonably expensive and increasingly naff Montblanc the last pen manufacturer to uphold its own standards? When you do put pen to paper - if you still do at all - what's your stubborn choice? Damn it, you must use something to log into your Moleskine!
Got bad handwriting? Go back to where the nightmare started and learn to write all over again. Or, if that didn't work the first time, try some more advanced instruction. Perhaps you just want to adopt the handwriting of one of your idols. In that case, I'm way ahead of you. Remember - write with all your muscles, not just with your fingers.