For a couple of weeks now, my brother and I have been exchanging actual handwritten letters. It’s been a lot of fun, as well as an opportunity to recover my ability to write in cursive.

By happy coincidence, today—just a couple of weeks after we started this quixotic venture of ours—is national handwriting day. (Picked because it’s the birthday of John Hancock.)

My handwriting, with just this much practice, is probably already better than it ever was. The reason is simple: I can spell. (I can’t spell especially well, but I can spell way, way better than I could in high school or before.)

It turns out that fudging your handwriting to obscure the fact that you can’t spell makes for really bad handwriting (without actually fooling anyone about your spelling).

Jackie likes to use pretty stamps when she sends a letter to an actual person. Since they don’t cost any more than ordinary stamps, she goes ahead and gets them preemptively, and if she doesn’t need them for letters to actual people, she just uses them to pay bills and such. Because of that, we had a nice stock of pretty stamps when this little venture started. So I’ve been able to use Star Trek stamps for most of my letters to my brother, a national park stamp for the letter to my aunt Wilma, and a Wonder Woman stamp for the letter to my mom.

Today we stopped at the post office and stocked up on more pretty stamps. It was kinda funny, looking at the choices and saying, “Two sheets of those, and one of those, and one of those, and one of those . . . .”

It’s not too late. You too can write a letter for national handwriting day. If necessary, backdate it a day and pretend it didn’t get finished until the post had already been collected.

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