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Here are additional pictures from which you are expected to learn more about the best position for muscular movement writing.
See the right (square) turn of his right arm at the elbow; the position in the seat; the position of the back; the distance between the boy and the desk; the positions of the left arm and the left hand; and the distance between the eyes and the paper.
In this lesson you should review all that was said in lesson 1 and lesson 2 about important beginning steps, position, muscular relaxation, and penholding. Practice movement (running the writing machine) a few minutes without the penholder, then slip the penholder into the right hand from the left, and practice the movement without touching the pen to the paper, still watching the arm closely, and giving more attention to correct position and movement than to anything else.
Are you comfortable in your seat; do your arms feel comfortable; and are you holding the penholder lightly in the hand without pinching it? Give close attention to these things.
In the next lesson more particular attention will be given to pen-holding.
Hand, Finger, and Penholder Studies
Study closely the illustrations on this page. In number 22, the fingers bend naturally as in repose, and their positions should remain the same when the penholder is in the hand.
In numbers 24 and 25, you should study the relation of the penholder to the hand. As you see, it is a little below the knuckle joint. The first finger bends naturally, and rests on top of the holder about one inch from the point of the pen; the thumb rests the holder nearly opposite the first joint of the first finger, and the third and fourth fingers are bent, touching the paper and forming a movable rest. Whether these fingers bend exactly as the illustrations show will depend upon their shape and length. It does not matter whether they rest on the nails or sides, if they are comfortable and can be used easily as the movable rest.
These diagrams are intended to show clearly the position of the writing paper on the desk, the relative positions of arms, paper and desk, and the direction in which the pen moves to secure uniform slant. Number 26 is the half-side position mostly used in public schools and best adapted to them, because of the character of the desks. Number 27 is the square front position.
In both diagrams, A represents the square turn at the right elbow and its position on the desk, B is the muscular rest of the forearm, C the position of the left hand in its relation to the paper and the right hand, D the penholder, and E E the imaginary line between the eyes along which the pen should travel in upward and downward strokes. With the right forearm crossing the lower edge of the paper a little to the right of the center, the pen should progress one-fourth or one-third of the distance across a sheet of paper eight inches wide, before the position of the paper is changed. Always use the left hand to move the paper. Paper 8×10-1/2 inches in width should be moved three or four times in the progress of the pen across it. When the end of the line has been reached, the paper should be returned to its original position, and should be moved up on the desk the width of one line. Lift the pen before moving the paper.
Time Required to Learn
The process of learning a good style of muscular movement-writing may be made easy or difficult, short or long, possible or impossible, according to the mental attitudes of teacher and pupil, and the exactness with which directions in this Manual are followed.
Pupils who constantly practice the movement drills in poor positions with incorrect movement never even get started, and pupils who practice from fifteen to thirty minutes a day in good positions with correct movement, but who fall back into the old bad cramped positions and finger movement habits in all other writing, do not get beyond the beginning stages, no matter how many years they may practice.
The pupil who becomes the absolute master of a finished style of muscular movement writing within the limits of six months or one school year is he who gives the closest attention to every detail relating to the beginning steps, who follows the printed instructions closely, who sits in correct position at all times, and uses muscular movement throughout the writing lessons, and in all his written work within a month from the time he begins to study the Palmer Method.
Without conflicting with other subjects it is possible to lay the foundation for an excellent handwriting in one school year, with but fifteen to thirty minutes daily study and practice, and the employment of muscular movement in all written work just as soon as possible. As progress is made in the grades the use of muscular movement can be permanently established. The boy becomes an expert ball-player by playing ball. At first he is awkward and uncertain, but, as he studies the methods of those who have become experts, and continues to practice, he takes on self-confidence, and finally develops into an expert, even though he could not hit a single ball during his first few games. Boys and girls who learn to skate with almost consummate grace must pass through the awkward stages, when they sit down instead of standing up as they had planned, and when their feet take possession and run away with them. In instrumental music of any kind one does not become an expert without first learning how to practice and then practicing in exactly the right way according to methods prescribed by master teachers. It is the same in penmanship: first, learn how to practice and then practice faithfully. Acquire elasticity, lightness, and freedom, and do not mind if the pen runs away at first and makes some awkward letters. This is to be expected. But stick to the right plan, and gradually you will gain control of the writing muscles of the arm, and with close attention to general form, size, slant, spacing, and correct movement application, you will become a splendid muscular movement penman in a few short months.