great mistakes

My handwriting isn’t very good. You might even go so far to say it’s bad. I remember being told to write my name again and again at school as I couldn’t seem to get my cursive to a good enough quality for my teacher. After years of preferring to hammer away with the clacky safety of a keyboard I find myself reaching for a pen a lot more often than ever before. I scratch away with a feisty little compact fountain pen in a little journal and dabble with sketching pictures as a form of self-acceptance for a handwriting ability I was always ashamed of.

At this time of year my usual error is to coast into a “Christian” when I mean to write “Christmas,” but writing a handful of cards today my mind wandered and I slipped out a “great” when I meant to write “grateful.” I stared blankly at the page and considered scrapping the card in favour of a clean slate – a fresh card without evidence of err.

It’s hard to make this sort of error when typing an email. You may make typos but you’ll summon the squiggly reds and some forgiving, trusty backspacing will make everything okay. The tablet I use for sketching has a helpful undo button but every press and resulting removal of the last stroke feels like a cheat, a betrayal of the intent of the moment.

I leaned into the “great” mistake and made it part of the message with a splotch of extra ink. I don’t think it looked bad. In fact, in some small way, I think it made it better.

When writing a card my handwriting is me, writing a card, by hand. Making mistakes is okay.