Shine and polish

by Jennifer on November 6, 2008

(Shh, I’m writing here…And taking no longer than five minutes to post, or I’ll be choking on the dust of my NaNoWriMo writing buddies. So, please, for the love of Chekhov, don’t tell them I was here…)

In my book, my main character is a calligrapher. But though I’ve always been fascinated by calligraphy, I’ve never been able to get the hang of it, even with the help of special pens and straight lines to guide me.

I have a sample of my maternal grandmother’s handwriting – my mother gave it to me a few years ago – and when I look at it, I marvel that she possessed such a delicate talent when my memories and limited knowledge of her don’t fit snugly with what I see here. Two sides of a coin, this one shinier than the other. (I wish I could hear stories from other relatives who knew her. Whether the coin appears shiny or tarnished may have something to do with who’s doing the polishing.)

That aside, here’s her signature, from before she married my grandfather (I assume, since she wrote her maiden name). Click to enlarge:

During a writing break, I did a Google search for calligraphy and found this short video (just over a minute long). It took me about two letters to realize what he was doing (guess I’m slow).

Going now…If my writing buddies ask, I was never here.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Madge November 6, 2008 at 11:21 am

my maternal grandmother’s name was beulah….

Madges last blog post..Poem Thursday


reluctantfarmchik November 6, 2008 at 11:43 am

Hey – I had a great-aunt Beulah!

I have tried to do calligraphy. I can sort of make it happen, but not with the effortless grace that seems to be part of calligraphy. As if the trying to do it makes it very “Un-calligraphy” because of the effort it requires. I’m sure with time and practice it would improve, but then . . . so would my cooking and housekeeping skills. Why?!


we_be_toys November 6, 2008 at 11:53 am

I love calligraphy – I’m only so-so with it and tend to make up my own lettering, but I love the handwriting of the 19th century and back (try readng 16th c. writing – OY!) for it’s wonderful creativity and flourish.
Did you know that all those curliques were originally designed to make it harder to forge a signature? All the way back into the middle ages you see examples of it. I know – useless trivia is my forte!

we_be_toyss last blog post..An Unexpected Occasion


Em November 6, 2008 at 11:56 am

My mother always shakes her head when she gets a note from me – “the death of fine handwriting.” She’s got a point. I rarely take the time to handwrite a note these days – shame, shame.

That signature is a pure work of art.

Congrats on diving into NaNoWriMo!! I totally chickened out. Maybe next year my life will be more conducive to it.


Ems last blog post..Click "um, valium on aisle 14. Please."


Louise November 6, 2008 at 11:57 am

Did I know her name was Beulah? I don’t think so.

It WOULD be interesting to know more about her from other sources.

I’m thinking that even if I had natural talent toward callipgraphy (which I don’t–I really don’t have natural talent toward legibility), the video exercise would just suck up too much time! But if you like it, not a bad way to practice!

Louises last blog post..Autumn Sunset — SkyWatch


Lisa Milton November 6, 2008 at 11:58 am

I wrote the fastest post in the west today. Going. Now. to. Write. and. try. not. to. cry.

Um, just kidding.

Lisa Miltons last blog post..ravioli lasagna, as I race out the door


Jan November 6, 2008 at 12:08 pm

My mother had beautiful handwriting and was a gifted artist – calligraphy was one of her hobbies and she was very good at it. She sent out some of the most beautifully addressed Christmas cards you’d ever seen.

Me? I wish I had the time to *try* to learn.

Jans last blog post..Thanksgiving Thursday – Bourbon Molasses Sweet Potatoes with Buttered Pecans


Daryl November 6, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Being left handed I am excused from any sort of classy handwriting/printing/calligraphy

Everyday I say thank you to the Gawd of computers keyboards… trust me if you saw my handwriting you would too

Daryls last blog post..Dona Nobis Pacem


Gwen November 6, 2008 at 1:05 pm

And here I’ve always wanted to be left handed. Maybe that’s so I could have some excuse for my nearly illegible handwriting. Which is apparently genetic, since my Grandma and mom also write like monkeys given pens.

Gwens last blog post..So Happy Being Unhappy With You


Jenn @ Juggling Life November 6, 2008 at 1:29 pm

I don’t see the video, but I do remember seeing a sample of your handwriting. Beautiful much?

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Just So You Know . . .


Kelly November 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm



Crazycath November 6, 2008 at 3:32 pm

I’ll say nothing.

Calligraphy is one thing.
Calligraphy upsidedown?


Crazycaths last blog post..Hunting Down a Story


flutter November 6, 2008 at 9:31 pm

I didn’t see you here!!

flutters last blog post..This mess


the mama bird diaries November 6, 2008 at 9:33 pm

well, congrats b/c your the first person who has ever gotten me to watch a calligraphy video.

the mama bird diariess last blog post..the paper towel alternative


melissa November 7, 2008 at 9:58 am

Very beautiful–I wish I had penmanship that looked so lovely. Go write!

melissas last blog post..Bumble Book Club Meets Jess Riley


Lisa@verybusymomwith4 November 7, 2008 at 11:15 am

I’m so ratting on you–unless of course you can address all my Christmas cards this year 😉

Lisa@verybusymomwith4s last blog post..Karl Rove, tex-mex, Super Mario and the Cleveland Browns–Can you get more random?!


jenrantsraves November 7, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Amazing! A woman named Beulah had to have some interesting stories, I’m guessing. I have never read a book in which the main character is a calligrapher. I’m intrigued as to how you chose that? Hope the writing is going well. Thanks again for your nice comments the other day.


JCK November 8, 2008 at 12:17 am

Too funny on your sneaking away! Hopefully writing here acted like a jumping board to the novel.

JCKs last blog post..And how he took 10 FRIGGIN’ days to call!


phd in yogurtry November 9, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Upside down and backwards? Or is this trick photography? Amazing.

phd in yogurtrys last blog post..prickly pear picking, part II


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