A new book of Marilyn Monroe’s unpublished writing has come out, with many images of her handwritten thoughts. I was fascinated by what her writing revealed; here is a quick interpretation.
Welcome to Sundays With Clyfford Still. I’m your host, M.K. Hajdin.
This is post 1.5. Why? Because it isn’t 1 and but really isn’t complete enough to be 2.
I’m slaving away in an exotic foreign land and I forget what’s going on in the world I left behind, so I was suprised to discover last week that poor Clyffie was pre-empted by that peculiar American phenomenon which my British friends call the Superb Owl.
I’m currently working on three different Clyffcentric pieces for this blog, but the freezing cold has slowed down their production. I really worked hard on last week’s piece and want it to get another chance, so please go and read it.
Before I leave you, though, I want to explain why I am hosting this blog.
I got to know Clyfford Still through images of his work alone. Something about them just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The man himself was something of a mystery.
Sundays with Clyfford Still invites you to follow along as we look at Still’s work and try to understand his personality and his life.
Now go look at last week’s post! And next week, I’ll be talking more about the mystery surrounding Clyff.
Questions? Comments? That’s what the comment box is for!
Also, you can tweet me on Twitter with the hashtag #clyffordlove if you have any juicy tidbits or photos to share.
Though the weather outside is frightful, it is relatively warm in here for a brief hour or two – someone has put enough wood in the boiler for once – so I am taking the opportunity to finish up the last of the handwriting analyses. Here is Karen’s.
Karen’s writing is interesting because it starts out small-ish and gets bigger toward the end. This suggests someone who is very frank and straightforward about what she is thinking and feeling, sometimes to the point of tactlessness.
Baselines ascending: optimistic, looking forward to future
Connected letters: Logical
Concave T-bars: jolly, good sense of humor
Most upper and lower loops are balanced, which means the intellectual and physical drives are pretty well balanced, except there are a few big lower loops which aren’t closed, indicating imagination and some unfulfilled desire in this area, either for physical activity or material things.
Unusual “I” formation – quirky personality, likes to talk, wants attention.
Long terminal strokes: sentimental, wants to hold to people and things
The writing has plenty of energy and what I call “swing”. This indicates, as you might guess, the writer has plenty of energy and is of a cheery disposition.
Covering stroke on the signature: a protective attitude toward the self and loved ones; this stroke is like an arm thrown up to ward off a blow.
..And now the radiators have gone cold again, and my toes are going numb, so I must stop here. I hope you got something out of this, Karen!
Questions? Comments? That’s what the comment box is for…
Here’s some leftovers from Handwriting Analysis week on accounta it turned out to be so popular. My toes are fixing to freeze again, so I’ll have to do these the quick ‘n’ dirty way.
Tracy sent me her sample, and here it is.
Tracy has a distinctive, almost calligraphic writing style that suggests artistic ability.
The rolled T-bars indicate a jolly sense of humor.
Her baselines slope upward, which shows that she’s optimistic about the future.
The letterforms are somewhat angular, which suggests tension and/or some force to the personality. Maybe she’s a really assertive librarian. Nobody talks above a whisper in her library!
The high t-bars show high goals and a lofty imagination.
Mostly disconnected letters show an intuitive thinker.
Simplified capitals show someone who is literary.
Long lower loops indicate some kind of interest in physical or material things, but many of these loops are unclosed, which indicate frustration there.
By the way, it is normal for our handwriting to deviate from what we were taught as children. The more that happens, the more we’ve grown as individuals. “Perfect” handwriting is for the unimaginative conformists of the world.
Questions? Comments? That’s what the comment box is for.
Welcome to Sundays with Clyfford Still. I’m your host, M.K. Hajdin.
This is post 1 of a series. Click here to read them all.
All this week here at Exiled Star(dust) we’ve been doing handwriting analysis, and I am very pleased to be able to tell you that I’ve finally located a handwriting sample of Clyfford Still. Now we can end the week with a bang.
Our sample is a letter written by Still to Jackson Pollock, and comes to us courtesy of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.
The text of the letter reads:
Went up to Janis’ gallery with Barney the other day and took the liberty of pushing into the office to see some of the paintings you did this summer.
What each work said, what its position, what each achieved, you must know. But above all these details and intentions the great thing, to me, came through.
It was that here a man had been at work, at the profoundest work a man can do, facing up to what he is and aspires to.
I left the room with the gratitude and renewal of courage that always comes at such moments. This is just my way of saying thanks, and the hope that some of my work has brought some of the same to you.
48 Cooper Sq.
Analysis of the writing:
The first impression I get from the writing is of a keen, inquisitive mind. The writing is very elongated in the upper and lower zones and the middle zone is shrunk almost to nothing. Here’s a diagram of the zones as they are used in handwriting analysis:
The middle zone has to do with our social selves, and the people around us. Still’s middle zone suggests he disliked socializing generally and would only do so if it were truly necessary. He was not the kind of person who would join others just to avoid being alone, or tolerate idle chatter. He did not allow himself to be dictated to by other people. A small middle zone also shows the ability to concentrate. He could shut out others completely and focus entirely on his work.
The lower zone is longest. It has to do with physical and material things, our bodies, sex, and the subconscious. The long simplified loops show a strong interest here, but the loops either don’t close at all or close below the baseline, which shows frustration or denial. Also they’re turned in the opposite direction of the usual loop, which shows an independent approach to the subject.
The upper zone is nearly as long as the lower zone and is much much larger than the middle zone. This zone has to do with the imagination, intellect and spirit. Here we find long, closed loops which indicate both interest and fulfillment in these areas of life.
Margins are even and narrow, there are large spaces between words : this was a man who would push into other people’s spaces if he felt the need, but required much space for himself.
The baseline is mostly even, showing good self-control.
Long beginning strokes on some letters indicate procrastination. Clyff could take a while to get started, but once going could keep it up for a long time.
Speed and flow are both very high, suggesting a quick thinker and eloquent communicator with a great deal of energy, both mental and physical.
Big loops on the t-bar stems show combativeness – ready for an argument or fight. The big loop on the d shows a sensitivity to criticism.
The long, firm, energetic t-bar crossings show a strong will and assertiveness.
Some of the t-bars sharpen towards the end, indicating a sharp tongue and a critical nature. Others are heavy and tilted downward towards the right, which shows aggression.
More combativeness is shown in the letter k, which is abnormally large compared to the other letters. This is known as a “go-to-hell K” because it shows a fiery, defiant spirit. This was a man who wouldn’t suffer fools gladly. Nobody could tell him what to do and he wouldn’t back down from a fight.
Clyff’s signature is consistent with the rest of his writing and shows that he did not wear a social mask; what you saw with him was pretty much what you got.
As with the rest of his writing: great speed, penetrating intellect, strong personality and much confidence is shown here.
Thanks for joining us.
Come back next week at 7am (GMT) for more Sundays with Clyfford Still.
If you enjoyed this piece, please let me know in the comments box below. If you have any interesting tidbits or images about Clyff that you’d like to see featured, post a link to them in the comments (or tweet them to me with the hashtag #clyffordlove) and I’ll see what I can do.
-30 C outside, can’t feel my toes, can’t feel my ankles either. I am sitting here in my nightgown and winter coat.
The radiators going full blast, even the oven is turned on and opened up, and I am still freezing. This would be an excellent opportunity to work on that novel about Scott’s last Antarctic expedition that I was planning, but I have to finish up some things first. Namely, the last of the handwriting analyses.
If I somehow missed anybody who wanted an analysis, do not despair. Just hang on to your samples because I might do handwriting analysis week again in a month or two. Right now I am about analyzed OUT.
Here is Ster’s analysis, a quick and dirty one before I succumb to hypothermia.
Ster’s writing looks an awful lot like mine.
Large writing: a big-picture person
Concave t-bars: good sense of humor
Large upper zone: the main focus of interest is in the realm of imagination
De-emphasized lower zone: Not much interested in the physical; non-materialistic
Upright slant occasionally tilting backward: Rational, sometimes a little shy, changeable mood
Rounded letters: kind, tolerant, easygoing
Simplified capitals: Literary, unpretentious
Looped but open letters: has difficulty keeping secrets. Tries, but things just slip out.
Even baseline with slight ascension: good self-discipline, optimistic
Needle-pointed top of m and n: curiosity, natural detective, desire to dig deep for answers
Both connected and unconnected letters: A mix of rational and intuitive thinking styles, mostly intuitive
Now I’m frozen up to my knees so I must really stop here. I hope you’ve gotten something out of this, Ster!
I have just finished doing my blog feature for tomorrow, it is -30 C outside and I am sitting here with rapidly freezing feet, so this has to be a quick and dirty handwriting analysis.
Here we have Raven:
Raven’s writing reminds me of my high school friend Erin. The notes we used to write each other! Anyway, here we go with the analysis:
Rounded handwriting: Gentle, kind nature
Double looped letter o suggests that Raven has some secrets.
Slightly forward slant indicates friendliness and talkativeness
Connected letters indicate a logical, structured approach to problem solving
Low t-bars suggest self-esteem issues and the need to set higher goals for oneself
The flat topped r shows manual dexterity, the ability to build with the hands.
The I gesturing at itself shows the desire to be noticed
I can’t tell much about mood because this is written on lined paper which messes up the baseline. Nor can I analyze the margins, because it’s a poem and not a letter so the margins aren’t natural.
Some lower loops closed, some open: Physical desire is present, some of it gratified, some not
Pointed upper loops and tops of m’s and n’s indicate curiosity and the desire for knowledge.
My toes are going numb and I still have to do Ster’s analysis so I must end here. Hope you got something out of this, Raven!
It’s been fun doing these. I hope I have remembered everybody who wanted a handwriting analysis, but if you don’t see yours up, reply to this comment with a link to your sample. Analyses of Raven and Ster are coming up later today.
Samples should be two paragraphs or so, written on unlined paper with a fountain or gel pen (not ballpoint or felt-tip or pencil) and big enough for me to read.
I have to get ready to do my weekly blog feature for tomorrow, Sundays with Clyfford Still, so I have to finish up the handwriting analyses by the end of today.
I’m hoping the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver can get me a sample of his handwriting, so I can do an analysis of a famous artist. That would be fun (not to mention a blog exclusive!)
Thanks to everyone who participated. This has been an amazingly popular subject. I KNEW I should have done this for a living!
Handwriting Analysis week continues into the weekend..
Now it’s Susannah’s turn.
We have here another writer who uses threading – and we know from a previous sample that this indicates a diplomatic person who thinks very rapidly, almost too rapidly to communicate clearly. The mind races and hand with the pen can barely keep up.
The large broad capitals in Susannah’s writing suggest that she has a strong need to be appreciated and validated, but she is a broadminded person too.
Small light writing indicate a sensitive person who notices small things and focuses inward, away from the material plane.
Long unclosed lower loops indicate an unfulfilled longing of some physical kind. Emphasis on the lower zone indicates this longing is quite strong and a major part of the personality.
Short light t-bars that sometimes don’t cross the stem indicates a lack of confidence and some difficulty asserting oneself, but the rising final arch of the “m” indicates a desire for self-expression.
Connected letters indicate a logical mind.
Open loops indicate that Susannah is a very open person who likes to share.
Wide spaces between words show that Susannah needs space and doesn’t like feeling boxed in.
The baseline dips down toward the right, showing a slight tendency to feeling down or a lack of energy. That often happens when you come all the way from Alabama with a banjo on your knee. 😉
How’d I do? Let me know in the comments below.
It’s Shannon’s turn.
Here’s Shannon’s handwriting sample.
Shannon has some interesting writing going on here. And yes, it’s easier to read in print than in cursive (damn you, cursive).
The printed part of the sample has simplified block capitals, which suggest a literary bent. Tall letters also suggest literary or intellectual ambitions.
Changeable slant: Shannon’s approach to people varies considerably depending on her mood, she can be slightly standoffish to quite friendly. It is likely she experiences intermittent bursts of energy interspersed with periods of lethargy and tiredness.
Big d-loop: very sensitive to criticism
Light writing: Sensitive emotional nature, possibly spiritual
Incomplete lower loops: Unfulfilled in some physical way
Hook formation on some capital letters: Gift of gab, loves to talk
Words rising and falling on the baseline: another indicator of changeable moods
Sinking baseline: She is inclined toward depression and/or pessimism
Illegible signature: not significant by itself, people who sign things a lot usually have illegible signatures
The overall impression is of a person who is very sensitive emotionally, highly reactive to circumstances, has to fight against dark moods but is ambitious for her future in some intellectual sphere.
How’d I do? Let me know in the comments.