Day 8: Elder Muse – The Art of Cursive Writing

At 8:45 this morning I was the first in line at our local post office in order to send off cards with monetary gifts and loving messages inside to my grandchildren in California who are 11 and 14. In fact I was so early they hadn’t opened for business yet, but I was warm and dry in the interior of the building on an overcast rainy day.

As one of the postal employees did his morning routine of organizing outside of the check out stations we engaged in conversation commenting on how busy it was this time of year and the necessary overtime the postal employees had to do in order to serve everyone during the holiday rush.

I made a comment thanking him for all the hours he was putting in and also that it made me happy that not everything was electronic and digital. That people still wrote letters and cards to each other and sent them off trusting that the United States Postal Service would get them to where they were going.

Every morning for many years my writing practice fills 2-3 pages in cursive handwriting using a fountain pen. Nothing fancy, just a 3 ring notebook with lined paper. The ink flowing on the page, the pressure needed, the letters connected together bringing me great pleasure. I am extremely saddened that my grandchildren have never been taught cursive writing as it has been taken out of their schools. Everything they do is digital.

Unfortunately, this may have lasting effects to the neural connections and activity in parts of the brain that are stimulated and improved with cursive handwriting. All of these connections interact with language, writing, and memory. It has even been shown to help with learning disabilities, motor skills, self discipline, grammar/spelling/and overall understanding.

The use of pen and paper gives the brain more ‘hooks’ to hang your memories on. Writing by hand creates much more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain,” she added. “A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters you write, and hearing the sound you make while writing. These sense experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning.” ~Audrey van der Meer, NTNU in Psychology Today, 7/28/2020

Beyond this I reflect on the simple act of sending a card or letter to someone you care about. It is not that I am resistant to digital e-cards, text messages and emails…..but receiving a handwritten missive from someone brightens my day.

Somehow I feel like it is more of a personal connection with the time and effort it took them to choose the card, write something of meaning, place a stamp on it and then send it off to my address. And it looks like it also benefits the sender!

Here is to anything that increases our neural pathways and memory as we age, as well as increases connection with those we love and care about……


Taking responsibility for our own journey is at times incredibly challenging. For those of you who read this blog regularly you may have noticed there was only one blog post published from September-November.

I was on a journey of exploration and discovery on how it felt to work a temporary part time mainstream job 20-hours/week, as well as continue on with my own private house/pet sitting business at the same time. It seemed my writing and creativity went into a hibernation of sorts.

I became acutely aware of what is most important to me at this precious elder time of life..and what is not. What opens me to wholeness, creativity, compassion, beauty, peace of mind and love….and what shuts me down into scarcity and contraction in the midst, of “busyness”. .

From this short 3-month experience the “elder muse” made an appearance and patiently waited to reveal a plan to re-engage with creative artistry when the timing was right. Over the next 31 days you will receive a daily Elder Muse blog post accessed from the unfolding of the day – not planned or scheduled.

I have no idea what will arise…..but then do we really know ahead of time what our moment to moment daily experience will be? We are only asked to pay attention.

Case in point – Just now I almost missed this sunrise extravaganza while focused on the words instead of the ever transitioning beauty emerging right out the window…….

I appreciate that you will be along with me for this journey. Please feel free to make comments or add your own insights and humor…..

In Gratitude & Appreciation!

Gaye Abbott



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