Muscle Memory

Yesterday morning I sat down at my desk to write my to-do list, like I do every Monday, but when I plucked a pen from my fountain pen cup, the strangest thing happened. I held the pen the same way I always have, the same way I’ve been holding a pen since I learned to write, and it felt wrong.

A hand holding a pen in a pincer-like grip, with a red circle and line over it

The wrong way to hold a pen -- unless you want your hand to cramp up

I knew that if I practiced penmanship enough, using the right grip to hold a pen would get easier, would become natural even. But I didn’t expect my “normal” grip — the claw, it’s called — to suddenly feel uncomfortable. That’s what happened yesterday, though.

I changed to a proper grip, and the pen felt comfortable in my hand again. I was even able to write legibly. Oh, I still have a ways to go before my handwriting with this new grip is pretty, and I’m nowhere near ready to give calligraphy a try, but I guess this means all the practice is paying off.

A hand holding a pen in a relaxed grip, with a green checkmark in the corner

Holding a pen this way causes less fatigue

For the record, it’s taken more than a week for this to happen. I started working on my penmanship with the Getty/Dubay book in early January. Although I slacked off at daily practice pretty quickly, I’ve still tried to use a correct grip when writing every now and then. I guess the last week of practicing every day finally made it sink in.

Oh, and for the fountain pen curious out there, the pen I used for the to-do list — the one pictured in the photographs above –is a Franklin-Christoph M-14 with a cursive italic nib and Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses ink. My penmanship practice pen yesterday and today both was an Eversharp Skyline with Noodler’s Army Green. (The rest of you can feel free to just smile and nod. Once I get you hooked on fountain pens, you’ll understand. 🙂 )

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One Response to Muscle Memory

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