Handwriting Analysis 101: Willa Cather

When I tell people I’m a handwriting analyst, most react with curious enthusiasm. What does it mean if someone dots their small i with a circle? they may ask elliptically. Or, Suddenly the tails of my small p are swinging left? What’s with that?Some whip out a notebook and demand an interview on the spot.

 Then there are the skeptics. How can you tell the real me when my writing changes from day to day? Well, I should hope it does. Otherwise, you’d be a machine, reacting the same to every situation. But my writing now doesn’t look anything like it did when I was younger. Ahh, so in other words, you’re saying you’ve matured.

 Consider this writing by the esteemed American author Willa Cather (1873 – 1947). Chances are you read My Antonia in high school. If not, there’s no time like the present—it’s peopled with a colorful cast of immigrants such as made this country great—though my personal favorite is The Song of the Lark. She wrote this as a teenager, but by the time she died, her writing was small and so indistinct as to be illegible. I intended to post both pictures side-by-side, but my blog template won’t let me. Trust me, when she called her penmanship unfortunate, she meant it.

If you’re curious why the transformation and what it means, consider attending the 17th International Willa Cather Seminar at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, June 17-21, where I will be presenting a lecture entitled, Hélas: my unfortunate handwriting. Date and time TBA. Stay tuned.