Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's Not Illegible, It's Asemic

Those marks in the margins of your ancestor's diary may look like scribbles, but they might actually be asemic writing.

It looks like writing, but we can't quite read it.

I call works like this "asemic writing".

Asemic writing seems to be a gigantic, unexplored territory.

Asemic writing has been made by poets, writers, painters, calligraphers, children, and scribblers, all around the world. Most people make asemic writing at some time, possibly when testing a new pen.
If doodles count as asemic writing, here's a fine example from census taker George W. Rand, who left this work of art on a page of the Waterford, Maine, census in 1860:

Fortunately, not all of George's writing lacked semantic content.

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