Got a rejection yesterday. Made me roll my eyes, but it didn’t hurt. Progress, yes?
You know what’s weird, though? French handwriting. I grew up writing French cursive, and my teachers did their best to beat the classic rounded letters into my terrified fingers. Cursive was ridiculously important to them. Some twenty-ish years later, a flabbergasted friend messaged me saying her French coworker’s handwriting was almost identical to mine. I explained the rows of cursive I had to carve into countless Clairefontaine notebooks in third grade. That’s French schooling for you. A population of people who write exactly the same.
Handwriting analysis has to be completely useless there. You could murder someone, cover it up with a suicide note, and unless you got sloppy with DNA or footprints, police would have to assume it was a bona fide suicide. You could write break-up letters for other people! You could swap out a grocery list as a mediocre prank. You could write people’s letters of resignation when they didn’t plan on quitting. The possibilities for chaos are endless.
OK, not really. Aside from the lack of logic in those scenarios, their handwriting isn’t truly identical. After the atrocity of school ends, most people loosen up their cursive in slightly different ways, but they all share the same core. To show you what I’m talking about, here’s a poem from a random French poetry blog and my transcription of it.
My cursive is a little more pronounced, but (maybe) you get the idea. What an odd cultural thing. Oh, in case you’re curious what it actually says, below is a translation, thanks to Google Translate, DeepL, and what French I remember from elementary school. In my efforts to preserve some of the spirit of the original poem, it’s not a word-for-word translation. Unfortunately, a lot of the rhyme and meter had to die in the process. Also, the author used the imperfect tense in the second half, and it made absolutely no sense, so I had to adjust that. Hopefully it still works.
Write to Cry Out
When I chose to write,
It wasn’t to describe—
But in order to cry out.
And so I took my ink out.
I put some stains on the page,
Oh-so-careful to write in perfect meter,*
Knowing the ink would set as fast
As my cat’s dried-out tongue.
I went downstairs just
To serve him his sweet milk,
Then sank into my pages once more.
But even with my resolve, I was at a loss.
Then, by luck, came a rhyme
That I quickly flaunted in the spotlight.
I understood then that it’s simply a tale we live
And cried out— friends, come join me here!
*French alexandrine meter, technically