A letter to Amanda Palmer

Dear Amanda,

I wonder if I ever met you would I lose my words? Would my tongue freeze to the roof of my mouth muting my expressions of love and thanks? Then I remember the best thing about you. It would be ok. Everything I need to say to you could be shared by intense eye contact and a hug.  Your ways are strange and beautiful.

I hope you see this and hear us calling to you from South Africa (I’m in Johannesburg by the way).

We also want to crance in rooms full of strange wonderous strangers.

We want to wear sharpie tattoos and glitter!

It’s not as much fun without you.

Please come play in SA.

with all my heart



The lost art of letters

I am often complimented on my handwriting, sometimes when all the person has seen is my signature…I like this about me.

My maternal Grandfather was pedantic about penmanship. When I was learning to write, he told me:” keep your hands clean, your pencil sharp, and your attention on the shape of the letter you are making.” He taught me to see it in my head first, and then copy the shape onto the page with my hand (I got a lot of those little star stickers in grade one, and a note from a teacher I didn’t know, during final exams, to say that marking my answer sheet had been a rare pleasure).

Grandpa was definitely not a buddhist, but this practice of what he called penmanship was my first experience of meditation. You calm and still your breath, keep your mind only on the shape of the letters. This is a somewhat lost art. If you want to improve your penmanship, or teach penmanship to your kids, I am going to share the secrets with you:

Slow down. Your thoughts will not vanish, they will mature in your head if you let them. Make your mind work at your hand’s pace, not the other way around. Once you master the bubbling brook of mind you will find the calm and clarity of your thoughts will reflect in your writing.

Be consistent – there is beauty in symmetry.

Experiment with different shapes and sizes of letters. It may just be that you need to write much bigger, or with larger spaces between your words, or even on a slant across an unlined page.

Most importantly, as with anything, handwriting is a matter of practice.

If you send me your postal address, I will write and post you a letter.