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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Life Along the Straight-Edge

I have terrible handwriting. Always have.
In grade school, when other girls wrote with nicely slanted, rounded cursive, my writing was too small, with crowded letters and skinny loops that didn't even look like loops. I got C's in cursive.
It wasn't because I didn't have a good eye; I actually got some of my sketches published in the local newspaper, and the principal had me do art-sy murals to decorate the school hallways before parent/teacher conferences.
And my bad handwriting wasn't because I'm left-handed. Lots of left-handers have very nice handwriting.
This was in the days before computers, you know, when writing in script was still a valued skill.
My bad handwriting filled me with shame.
I tried slanting my script backward, like lots of lefties do.
Still terrible.
I went through a printing phase in ninth grade.
But my English teacher asked me, with a raised eyebrow and a slight tilt to one side of her mouth, hadn't I ever learned cursive?
After I read The Lord of the Rings, I tried to give my script a long, flowy runian Medieval look.
In college, I gave up. It didn't matter by then since every research paper had to be typed.
But it still mattered to me.
One day I watch an artist friend set up a poster board for illustrations surrounded by various types of print and cursive. She used a straight-edge.
Hmm. Her letters came out looking absolutely professional.
I went home and addressed an envelope using the straight-edge method and voila! Script just short of calligraphy.
I discovered something about people with bad handwriting, well, some of them, including me.
We just need something to bounce our pen or pencil against.
Kind of like a backboard for your ball.
Then the letters rise from the straight-edge, majestic, authoritative, intellectual, venerable.
We need a guide, a hedge, a fence, a wall. Something strong and unyielding.
To keep us on the line.
Without the boundary of my straight-edge, I wandered above, below, slanted too far forward, leaned too far back.
Unlike a painting or a scribble, my letters need the structure of those straight lines.
Kind of like my life in general.
I need borders and boundaries.
So my life makes sense. So it can be read by others.
How about you? Do you feel safer with a wall or two?

"I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk your steps will not be hampered;
when you run you will not stumble." (Proverbs 4:11)


  1. I think all of us are more comfortable with walls, although we may push against them, testing the validity of them.
    I feel safe with the walls of scripture hemming me in, some feel scripture is too restrictive, I find it more like a blanket of comfort and protection.

  2. Diane, I guess if I can see the horizon, then the "walls" on each side of me don't seem as restrictive. This subject could make for a long, even controversial conversation with lots of people. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Hi Dena -

    I don't have the greatest handwriting either. Straight lines help keep me on track, but I'm much happier (and faster) on a keyboard.

    Susan :)

  4. Thanks, Susan. Keyboards are great, but God's boundaries make for cleaner, surer moves!