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Lefthander's Day with Rotring ArtPenHappy Lefthander's Day!! Both Dan & I and are avid fountain pen (and pencil) users, modern & vintage, and both of us are left-handed.

My Dad was left-handed as well. The reason I write with the care and legibility that I do is because of what he went through as a boy in school, as a left-hander in the 30's & 40's. Hand tied behind his back, forced to write with his right hand "properly, like the rest of the students". Except, it wasn't legible.

So the story I was told as a child was that he struck a deal with his school master. If he could write as well as, or even better than, his classmates, would the one-room school master allow him to use his dominant hand? Turns out, my Dad's writing, up until he passed away, was far more legible than my right handed Mom's writing is to this day. That school master allowed it, and my Dad made sure my printing and writing was legible early on. 😉

I traveled in Europe my junior year of college. You'd think that in the mid-eighties being a lefty wouldn't stick out as much as it did for my Dad through school. I was at a museum, one of many in Germany that I sought out, to see the exceptional things in person that I had studied only in books previously.

There was an elderly docent on duty near a sign in book for one small museum. I signed it and she asked me sharply in a German dialect effectively "where were raised?". I replied that I was from the United States, studying abroad for college. "Oh, well, that explains why you were permitted to learn to write improperly, with the wrong hand". She said she pitied me for not being properly taught.

As far as writing goes, lefties face some of the same issues right-handers do; finding great paper or notebooks; finding a pen size that suits us well; good nib tuning. But we have the lefty challenges of smearing and smudging leading us to search out faster drying inks with a bit more frequency, or pencils that don't smudge as much.

Vintage pens can be a bit of a challenge since a vast majority of them were probably in use by a right-handed writer. That means the nibs will wear in a specific way that might make it difficult for a lefty to just pick up and use without some tuning care.

This is partly why I'm enjoying learning the skills needed to tune nibs in addition to restoring pens overall to get them back into service. I have a couple of beautiful vintage pens that will likely find their way to the sale page with the caveat that they aren't suitable for overhand lefties.

There are some tools that benefit either handedness - like artist's bridges to rest the  working hand above the work, rather than on the paper. Then there are the tools designed for handedness. My Mom bought me left-handed scissors early on. I lost the first pair. 😛

She bought me a second pair, and I just never made much use of them because they were so inferior to her really good scissors and the shears she used for fabric. To this day, I use right-handed scissors almost exclusively.

I posted my first ever Instagram video of my overhand, left-handed push writing today. I wanted to share a visual of that writing style. I see so many amazing video clips of right-handers, and even left-handers who have mastered the underhand style, doing some of the insanely beautiful lettering that I hope to get better at over time.

Ovbiously I need to work on improving the videography part, so I can concentrate on the lettering I'm capable of in that style. Just another challenge for this lefty to master.

#leftiesrock

 

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