I didn’t write legibly until I was about nine. Add to that an appalling lisp, zero facility with maths, chronic myopia, no co-ordination whatsoever and a reading age of 14 at six years old, which made junior school a tricky, lonely place for me. (I couldn’t even tie a shoelace until I was ten.)
The concept of neuro-typical and atypical children hadn’t been floated then. Hell, dyslexia was barely recognised, a situation that seems risible these days.
And, even though I had intensive educational therapy at a nice lady’s house in Hampstead at around 8 & 9 to get me to write, it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties, that we realised that my problems had a name.
It’s utterly extraordinary the over-arching relief given by realising that problems such as no short term memory whatsoever, lack of spatial awareness, an inability to catch or hit balls and constant tripping and falling are actually caused by something other than general crap-ness.
One legacy of my late start in the writing arena is that I can only write legibly with a fountain pen. I need to carve out my words, forming them slowly and carefully and gracefully. Otherwise the net result is somewhat akin to a spider jumping out of an inkpot to dance a fandango across the page.
Day to day I use a basic Parker cartridge ink pen, which I buy in WHSmiths, and of which I buy maybe twelve a year at a tenner a pop. (Dyspraxics display positive genius for misplacing and losing their possessions.) But for special occasions, contracts and thank you letters, I use this beautiful braided black leather Cross pen that I was given.
It’s weighty enough to make writing with it feel important, but no so hefty that my wrists ache from lifting it, and it looks beautiful. It comes with a lifetime mechanical guarantee, which should come in handy should I manage not to lose this like all the others…
The Cross Torero £90 from www.cross.com
Previous Objects of Desire here