Lowercase letters, my pain is great

When I was younger, I used to play with writing, not genres exactly (though I loved writing letters, essays, poems, and stories). What I actually played with was handwriting, orthography, actually. I played with direction: slanted right, slanted left, up and down; the size and shape: loopy, big, small. I dotted my i’s with hearts (Lord have mercy), round little circles, dashes. I slashed my t’s with big swipes, short slices. I wrote my r’s like v’s, my g’s like the g’s in the font of this post (rather than like an “a” with a longer hook below the line).

I tried to write in all print sometimes, or sometimes in a combination of print and cursive. I still do that mostly. I can still do a lovely bit of handwriting should I be forced to–I had to teach it one year when I taught second grade, and after that, it was over for me. I was judged everyday by those kids on how I did on the board and on my notes to them. I could not fail for them. So I practiced (just like in the picture here–just like when I was in Catholic school and judged by nuns, brothers, and priests over my handwriting).

Write like this (or write like a Catholic school girl)

I even tried writing all lowercase letters a time or two. This now irritates me when I encounter it in texts, email messages, blogs, ANYTHING. I’d almost rather have someone use all caps to indicate yelling than all lowercase which indicates something like, “Whatever.”

Using all lowercase letters is insulting to the reader. see how it feels right now to be entirely disregarded and unloved? it’s like the writer is slapping the reader lightly across the cheek. it’s not a walloping big slug that is all about power and decisiveness, but a smarmy, sickly little swipe. yuck.

See. You felt awful didn’t you?

I happened upon a blog recently in which all the posts and pages were written in lowercase letters. Wow. I was repulsed–so much so that I felt like I had to write something before I forgot what I needed to vent about.

really. who would do such a thing? so wrong. I often wonder if I can ever tell what right looks like. I frequently don’t. But I sure know what wrong looks like.

and it looks like this.

and this.

and this, too.


Did this lack of tolerance happen to me because I decided to teach writing? Or because I have taught writing for a long time. I sure don’t worry about issues of upper or lowercases when I’m writing poetry still. (In fact, I was exposed to a near-altercation when one person I knew almost came to blows with another person I knew over this statement, uttered by the latter: “All lines in poetry begin with a capital letter.” It was days and days before they would even acknowledge each other–and the damage was life-long and deep. My pain is still great and I was only on the fringes.)

Now, I’m one of those who rant about language and writing and all that.



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Filed under Cases is Cases is Cases or Not, Fighting over Poetry

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