On holding pencils

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When I was in kindergarten, I was officially diagnosed with ‘holding my pencil wrong.’ The adults fretted that my handwriting would always be crippled, that I’d never be able to write cursive, that I would always be a weirdo for life.

Being a little kid and all, I tried very hard to learn how to hold pencils the ‘right’ way.

The ‘right’ way made my handwriting worse and hurt my hand. I always subconsciously switched back to my wrong way, because it felt so much more natural. The adults practically melted with anxiety over my future.

Finally, in fifth grade my teacher announced that my handwriting was fine, and that I could keep holding my pencils however I wanted. After all, in her experience, if the correction hadn’t been made by that point, then it would likely never happen. Hallelujah, I was free!

In high school, the other teens said it was freaky how I held my pencil. I had a pronounced callous on my pinky finger from the amount of writing I did. My ceramics teacher predicted that I could be a calligrapher, if I wanted. I was proud of how I held pencils.

I write all of my rough drafts by hand. I have my fountain pen, medium nib, my collection of Japanese inks, and a binder stuffed to the gunwales with paper. My current WIP has reached 100 pages, with about 400 words per page in my handwriting. I don’t suffer much hand-fatigue; I can easily hit the 1,000 word mark without any discomfort. The callous on my finger as all but vanished since I quit using ballpoints. I don’t see why everyone made such a fuss when I was a kid.

I am, however, an irreparable weirdo; but I don’t think that has anything to do with how I hold pencils.

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