The Scriptological Review
by ________Posted on May 11th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
Below is the opening of Tania James‘s new story “The Scriptological Review” in the latest issue of A Public Space. Not many stories center around editors of small magazines, maybe none do so this endearingly. (Just typing the beginning out now, here, I see how much the story rewards rereading.) James’s story collection Aerogrammes, in which this story is included, will be released from Knopf next week; the title story appeared in a 2007 issue of One Story.
This is not a guide to good handwriting. You’ll find no dos and don’ts, no dotted lines here. If that’s what you are looking for, try Cursive First, a workbook force-fed to me at the age of eight, when the nuns tried to mold my hand around the rubber pencil grip of conformity.
What you’re reading is the final copy of the Scriptological Review, a journal dedicated to the social analysis of handwriting. Our inaugural issue appeared two years ago, with a cover story titled “Slanty Signatures and Secret Turmoil: The Correlation Between High Cursive Slant and Low Self-Esteem.” In this, we analyzed a letter from John Wilkes Booth, whose cursive was brambled with signals that the lay reader would likely ignore, such as intraletter gaps and distended a’s and o’s.
If you’re still reading, then it’s likely that you are a subscriber and a scriptophile, but for the remaining fraction who have happened upon this issue on a bus seat or in a dentist’s office (or propping open a window, as I found my mother’s copy of volume IV), let me introduce myself…