TEACHING BEADING AND WRITING 259
writing, seems incredibly illogical. The alphabet is made up of curves, therefore we must prepare for it by learning to make straight lines.
" But," says someone, " in many letters of the alphabet, the straight line does exist." True, but there is no reason why as a beginning of writing, we should select one of the details of a complete form. We may analyse the alphabetical signs in this way, discovering straight lines and curves, as by analysing discourse, we find grammatical rules. But we all speak independently of such rules, why then should we not write independently of such analysis, and without the separate execution of the parts constituting the letter?
It would be sad indeed if we could speak only after we had studied grammar! It would be much the same as demanding that before we looked at the stars in the firmament, we must study infinitesimal calculus; it is much the same thing to feel that before teaching an idiot to write, we must make him understand the abstract derivation of lines and the problems of gRometry!
No less are we to be pitied if, in order to write, we must follow analytically the parts constituting the alphabetical signs. In fact the effort which we believe to be a necessary accompaniment to learning to write is a purely artificial effort, allied, not to writing, but to the methods by which it is taught.
Let us for a moment cast aside every dogma in this connection. Let us take no note of culture, or custom. We are not, here, interested in knowing how humanity began to write, nor what may have been the origin of writing itself. Let us put away the conviction, that long usage has given us, of the necessity of beginning writing by making vertical strokes; and let us try to be as clear