Musical Mysteries

Okay, so I just found this fun website:  Kids will enjoy the game, and the Irish accents don’t hurt either. ;) Let me know what you think!

I’m going to do more exploring on this site…

All the best,



General Behavior: Clues to Emotional Expressiveness, Sociability & Decision-making

This Saturday, January 29, is the second in a series of Handwriting Analysis classes hosted and taught by yours truly!  Remember, each class easily stands on its own, so you can come to one, two…or all!  In any event, you’ll get valuable information that will enable you to understand yourself and others and communicate effectively with all types of people.

This week’s class is specifically on slant, size and weight of writing.  These elements enable analysts to determine important and fundamental things about the person holding the pen.  Things such as how expressive they are with their emotions, whether or not they are affectionate, how impetuous they are, how well they sympathize with others, etc.  Furthermore, we can tell if this person is social or prefers to be alone, or a little of both.  And this is only the beginning!

After learning how to discover the above traits, we’ll apply our knowledge to attendees’ handwriting (if they wish; no one’s forcing anyone to show their writing :)) and to the handwriting of such figures as Elvis Presley, Emily Dickinson & J.K. Rowling.

Class is in Moscow, ID, 12:00-2:00pm this coming Saturday, and the cost is $19.  Please consider joining us!  Email to save your spot.

All the best,


P.S. Click here to see the full schedule of classes and topics from now until April.

P.P.S. Attendees of any class receive coupons for substantial discounts on five different types of analyses!

The Holiday You Didn’t Know Existed & The Classes Inspired By It

Hello and Happy New Year!

2011 should be full of new and useful experiences and learning, as I’m sure those of you with ‘New Year Resolutions’ will concur.  To this end, I’d like to invite anyone interested in people, personalities, effective communication, psychology, and/or bringing more fulfillment to their lives to the TraitTracks Handwriting Analysis classes I’ll be hosting beginning in January.

There will be a total of 8 classes spanning from mid-January to late April.  Each class easily stands on its own, and any that you attend will give you great insight into the thought processes, behaviors, and inner workings of yourself and others.  If you’re feeling ambitious, attendance of all 8 classes will give you a full overview of handwriting analysis and enable you to accurately and fluently analyze most any writing in Latin-based languages.  The dates and topics are below:

Jan. 15 – INTRODUCTION: Why Handwriting Analysis Works and What You Naturally Already Know About It

Jan. 29 – GENERAL BEHAVIOR: Clues to Emotional Expressiveness, Sociability & Decision-making

Feb. 12 – FEARS & DEFENSES: Unwanted Traits and How to Be Free of Them

Feb. 26 – COMMUNICATION & HONESTY: Clues to Secrecy, Talkativeness & Deception

March 12 – SUCCESS TRAITS: Valuable Traits and How to Incorporate Them

March 26 – INTELLIGENCE & THINKING STYLE: Guide to Quick, Methodical, and Muddled Thought Processes and How They Affect Behavior

April 9 – TRAIT STACKING: Putting Together the Pieces of a Personality

April 30 – RELATIONSHIPS & COMPATIBILITY: Interaction of Two Personalities

All classes will meet Saturdays 12:00-2:00pm at my home in Moscow, ID.  During a brief break between the two hours of instruction, we’ll enjoy refreshments and conversation before getting back to the handwriting fun.  It just so happens that the week of January 10 is National Handwriting Analysis Week, in honor of the birthday of John Hancock (12th of Feb.), famous for his prominent signature on the Declaration of Independence!  In recognition of his courage, leadership and memorable ‘John Hancock’, we’ll be kicking things off during National Handwriting Analysis Week on Jan. 15 with a discounted class.  Prices are below:

Intro Class Price: $15

Individual Class Price: $25 ($40 per couple)

Price for 4 Classes: $75 ($135 per couple)

Price for All 8 Classes: $150 ($280 per couple)

Since these classes will take place in my living room, space is somewhat limited. :) E-mail me at to secure your spot in the introductory class.  Even if you are unable to attend personally, please pass on this information to anyone who may be interested in enriching their understanding of people and personalities.

All the best,

Allie Bradley, Certified Handwriting Analyst & Graphotherapist

The Tolkien Professor

One of my college professors, Dr. Jonathan McIntosh, sent me a link yesterday to a website with lectures by the “Tolkien Professor”, Corey Olsen.  I’ve only listened to the first lecture so far, but I’m already a huge fan!  Olsen has obviously done his research and really knows what he’s talking about.  In his introductory lecture, he touched on one of my favorite branches of Tolkien studies, that of why Tolkien disliked allegory and why he wished for no reader to dissect his works in an allegorical way.  This was the topic of my college thesis a couple of years ago and remains an area of interest for me.  If you’re a Tolkien reader or simply curious, visit to hear some great lectures.

All the best,


PS – Read my analysis of Tolkien’s handwriting here.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Handwriting

If you know me well, you may be surprised that I haven’t publicly analyzed Tolkien’s handwriting before.  I’ve had a certain unmasked obsession with him for years, and I admit that I even studied Elvish in high school on my own time.  Strangely enough, it was my first foreign language, and it actually helped me grasp concepts in Latin and Greek when I began learning them in college.  Anyway, yes, I’m a huge follower and admirer of the creator of Middle Earth because of his incredible imagination and his ability to capture part of it on paper with his many stories, maps, illustrations, and even handwriting.  Below I’d like to pull some traits out of these two samples.  Please be encouraged to comment with further thoughts on how these characteristics of his personality come out in his life, habits, and work.

1. The first thing that strikes me when looking at this handwriting is the overall style.  The strokes are clean, heavy and attractive.  People who write this way have a strong sense of aesthetic.  They are drawn to things that involve their senses; they are attracted to beauty in what they see, what they hear, what they touch.  They are moved emotionally by whatever is aesthetically pleasing.

This really makes sense when we remember that Tolkien invented not only one or two languages but many, and each language and the sounds it incorporated revealed something about the people who spoke it.  The elves speak a lovely, melodic language reminiscent of Welsh.  The orcs speak a harsh, biting tongue with short, rough words.  The language of Mordor is rarely uttered as it causes its listeners discomfort and anguish – think of Gandalf speaking the words on the Ring during the Council of Elrond.  Much more could be said on this subject of aestheticism, and I could go on forever… but I won’t.

2. Tolkien’s ‘n’s and ‘m’s form v-shapes at the baseline, which reveal an analytical mind.  Writers with this trait analyze everything, from situations to people to words and languages.  They like to now how things work and why, and their reasoning ability is keen.

When Tolkien, on a whim, wrote on a loose piece of paper as he was grading “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”, he didn’t leave it there.  He analyzed this statement, studied it, and discovered what it meant.  Again, SO much more could be said here.

3. Notice that although Tolkien is writing on unlined paper, his writing is perfectly straight.  If we were to put a ruler underneath his lines, they would be practically flawless.  People who write this way have perfectionistic tendencies.  They like to have everything in its proper place and may feel anxious when each piece isn’t “just so.”  They are thorough in what they do and will not be satisfied with shabby work.

As you probably know, it took about 12 or so years for Tolkien to complete the Lord of the Rings. He was so completely immersed in his history, his “myth” for England, that we know that this length of time didn’t stem from any lack of interest in his stories or writing.  On the contrary, the reason it took him so long was that he was never quite satisfied with the work that he felt so strongly about.  He would write and rewrite each sentence and chapter an unbelievable amount of times.  Perfectionists do wonderful work, but the downside is that actual finished products are rare because they’re never quite “good enough” in the eyes of their creator.

4. This fourth trait actually goes along with the one before it in some ways.  Tolkien paid a lot of attention to detail, as evidenced by his lower case ‘i’s being dotted extremely close to their stems.  People with this trait are observant, exacting, and scrupulous, rarely brushing over a detail.

Like I said, this rather goes hand in hand with Tolkien’s perfectionism, as he would scour each detail of his writing to see where there was room for improvement.  Because of this, the books he wrote are memorable for their detailed accounts of events, appearances, feelings, histories, locations, etc.  Tolkien made sure that any time even the moon was mentioned in a particular chapter, that it lined up with its appearance in a later chapter in which other characters were looking at the moon at the same time as before…this sort of thing makes me a little dizzy, but for him it was essential to the believability of the story.  And I love him for it.

5. Notice that Tolkien’s lower-case ‘d’s are written like a Greek delta, and that his upper-case ‘E’s like a lower case Greek epsilon.  These traits are especially common in readers and writers of high literature, and the trait name is “Desire for Culture.”  Those with this trait relish fine food, travel, literature, skillful music, and other things of that nature.

Tolkien, as a writer and lover of literature, clearly falls in the “desire for culture” category.  I’m not sure that he traveled much, but he walked a great deal and annoyed C.S. Lewis (close friend and frequent walking companion) by stopping at each interesting tree, flower, or plant for a closer look.  As for appreciating music, he not only made it a point to regularly attend concerts (especially in Oxford’s Holywell Music Room; click here for a post on it), but as we know, he also composed his own poetry for his characters to sing in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and elsewhere.  In The Silmarillion, the entire world’s formation begins with the Music of the Ainur, a great symphony of sounds conducted by Iluvatar, the creator.

6. The personal pronoun ‘I’ often reveals much about a person’s relationship with his/her parents or at least the father and mother figures in their life.  Tolkien’s ‘I’ looks rather incomplete, with neither the upper or lower loop fully present.  This would indicate a lack of presence of his parents, either literally or emotionally.

Sadly, both of Tolkien’s parents died when he was very young.  His father passed away in South Africa (JRR’s birthplace), and his mother several years later in England.  His father he barely knew since he was so young, but he long remembered the grief of his mother’s death.

7.  This last trait I will explain but will comment on hesitantly because I’m not sure how exactly it fit into Tolkien’s character, though I have some ideas.  Tolkien’s ‘y’s, instead of going down below the baseline and then curving left, actually go down below the baseline and form a v-shape out to the right.  This is a sign of aggression of some sort.  Writers with this trait may be physically aggressive, verbally aggressive, or sometimes it shows up in other areas and must be weighed against the writer’s other traits.

Here is my thought on how this does and does not show up in Tolkien’s personality.  From all the accounts we have of him, no one tells us that he regularly got into fist-fights or anything like that.  If he had other traits such as impulsiveness, anger, etc., then the aggression stroke might surface in that kind of behavior, but those other traits are not in Tolkien’s make-up.

I rather think that Tolkien’s aggression reveals itself in what he cared most passionately about and what shows up in other parts of his handwriting: literature and culture.  As an English professor at Oxford, he was familiar with and influential in the language and literature curriculum, and he found it outrageous that students’ choices in classes were very limited.  He especially disliked that linguistic classes focused completely on declensions and cases and had little to do with the actual literature these words were found in. And on the other hand, courses on literature had basically no emphasis on language.  Tolkien saw these two subjects as intertwined and co-dependent and fought for six years against most other men on the curriculum committee to have this system modified.  He never gave up, and in the end he got the result he wanted.  Read more about this by clicking here.  I have not read this whole biography, but I found this section helpful in understand this event in Tolkien’s life.  Even the fact that the author refers to this push for change in the curriculum an “Academic Crusade” reveals that she also notices a type of aggression in Tolkien’s behavior when it came to things he cared deeply about.

Wow, thank you to those readers who made it all the way to the end of this lengthy post!  I very much enjoyed delving into such a brilliant man’s personality.  If you’re interested, please check out this list of a few of my favorite books on Tolkien (below).  Also, please comment with any further thoughts on Tolkien’s handwriting traits coming out in his life or works.  I’d love to hear from you and discuss two of my very favorite topics – Tolkien and handwriting. :)

All the best,


The Road to Middle Earth by Tom Shippey

Author of the Century by Tom Shippey

Tolkien: Man and Myth by Joseph Pearce

Splintered Light by Verlyn Flieger

Rain, Rain Go Away Variations

The rain this evening reminds me that this morning yet another kindergartner mixed up words in a very humorous way during class.  You know, I never realize what certain students think the lyrics are to a song until I call them up and have them sing it as a solo…and I’m often very amused at what I hear.  I actually can’t even remember what today’s variation was today, but I know it was in Rain, Rain Go Away.  Here are some favorites from past classes that I do remember:


Original: Rain, Rain Go Away, Come again another day

A boy student’s version: Rain, Rain Go Away, Come again on Mother’s Day


Original: Hot Cross Buns

A girl student’s version: Cross Off Doug


Original: Bow wow wow, Who’s dog art thou?

A girl student’s version: Bow wow wow, Who’s god art thou?

There are many more, but these readily come to mind at the moment.

All the best,


Meat-and-Potato Music

Sometimes my piano students ask me why they are required to play classical music.  Why not stick to pop, jazz, movie themes, etc?  Classical can “boring” or “laborious”, while the other types are “fun.”  There are several metaphors I like to use in answering this question, and I’ll give two here:

1. Classical music is great literature, while pop music is modern youth fiction.  It may take concentration and in-depth study to read through and grasp all the themes of Paradise Lost or Pride and Prejudice, but who in their right mind would replace these with Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?  Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy both of the latter book series – it’s when you want to shove the tested and true literature, known as “great” since long before you were born, that the problem shows up.  Your mind grows and becomes sharper through reading stories sculpted and refined by Milton and Austen (and many others), even if they may seem heavy and tiresome when first encountered.  Stories of an a slightly more inferior nature meet your mind where it is for the most part and entertain rather than expand.  A Chopin prelude is like a great work of literature and may be challenging but extremely rewarding.  A Taylor Swift song arranged for piano is just fine for on-the-side learning and is no detriment to healthy practicing, but it probably won’t enhance your musicality in a significant way.

2. Classical music is meat, fruit, vegetables and a rich apple pie; pop music is Twinkies and Oreos.  I love a good Oreo.  Eating only Oreos, every meal, every day, though, is obviously not the smartest thing one could do for one’s diet and health.  Same for your musical health.  If you’re not getting heavy doses of meat-and-potato-like music by Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, you’re missing out, and your musical health is going to spiral downhill in no time at all.  Eat a hearty Scarlatti Sonata for lunch and save the pop tune for a tasty midday snack.

Basically, if the core of your piano practice is consistently fed and fattened by the superior quality of Classical music, adding some elements of pop is a great idea – it can display your variety and offer a nice brain-break and is just plain fun.  But don’t feed primarily on Cheez-Its without your dose of chicken noodle soup, and be sure to read Tolkien along with your Rowling.

All the best,