Tuesday Trait: Self-Deception

Tuesday Handwriting Analysis Trait: Self-Deception is evident in handwriting when lower-case ‘o’s have loops on the left side, leading into the letter. The larger the loop the larger the self-deceit. This person is not facing something in his or her life. Self-deceived people often have a different view of themselves than others do and may sometimes be described as “living in their own world”.  Thoughts?

Quick anecdote: I used to have this trait fairly regularly before I began changing my handwriting and decided to take it out.  I’d been rid of it for quite a while by the time I traveled to England with a friend last summer.  But as I kept a journal of our activities and impressions, I began noticing self-deception loops in many of my ‘o’s!  I was annoyed that they were all of the sudden coming back after all that time and couldn’t understand why that would be happening.  Finally one day it dawned on me: Chelsea and I had made a decision to completely ignore the fact that we had to go back to reality after all of our gallivanting…we both teach at the same school, and back at home we were awaited by lesson plans and crazy schedules.  We had made a pact to try very hard to avoid talking to each other about school-teaching (as much as we do love it) and focus on our time away.  It was when I remembered this pact (and the significant part of my life that I was choosing to ignore!) that I relaxed and no longer bothered about the loops in my ‘o’s.  Sure enough, they went away as soon as I came back to the States. :)

All the best,



Handwriting Analysis of Jane Austen

Jane Austen, well-loved author of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and others, has beautiful and unique writing that reveals much about her personality.  Click on the image above to view a larger version.  Here are a few of the traits I found in her writing:

1. Rightward Slant – Miss Austen noticeably slants to the right in her cursive.  This is normal for people of highly expressive natures.  She shows her emotions, feels comfortable expressing herself, and demonstrates compassion.  She easily sympathizes with others.

2. Desire for Culture – The lower case ‘d’ (as in ‘Friday’ at the top of the letter) that ends with a stroke high and to the left instead of returning to the baseline indicates a love for elegance, high art, fine dining, literature, and music.

3. Enthusiasm – Miss Austen’s long, rightward ‘t’-bars (as in ‘told’, ‘the’ and ‘weather’ in the first line and many following words) indicate a high level of enthusiasm, especially with regards to her interests.  This is a common trait of very successful people.  Those with this stroke are future-oriented and driven.

4. Independence – Though I said above that Miss Austen likes people and relates well to them, she also has an independent streak that shows up in her ‘y’s that end in a straight stroke below the baseline but do not veer out toward the left (as in ‘Friday’ and ‘My’ at the top).  People with this stroke prefer to get things done on their own, to not need anyone and not be needed in return.  They also do not mind spending time alone and have a need to be away from people now and then.  Not all of Austen’s ‘y’s look like this, so this personality trait would likely have shown up in some situations and not in others.  This can be a desirable trait as it also includes a sense of determination when the ‘y’ is especially heavy and straight.

5. Argumentativeness – The ‘p’ that separates from the stem and reaches high into the middle (and even upper zone) of handwriting reveals an argumentative nature.  Those with this trait might argue just for the fun of it and enjoy good verbal banter.  For examples of this ‘p’, see ‘prevent’ in the second line and ‘opportunity’ in the last line of the first paragraph.

6. Diplomacy – Many of Miss Austen’s ‘m’s begin with a hump that is taller than the others.  This is the sign of diplomacy, or the ability to approach even potentially sticky subjects with tact and grace.  This, coupled with the fact that she writes with a rightward slant, leads me to believe that Miss Austen probably had excellent social skills and was good with people.

All this talk about Jane Austen makes me want to pick up a book!  I’m off…

All the best,


PS – See handwriting analysis of more well-known figures by clicking 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

Tracks of the Bulldog

More analysis of another interesting character: Winston Churchill!   Here are a few traits visible in this sample:

1. Steeple-shaped m’s and n’s – these indicate lightning-quick thinking ability and decision making.  This man was seriously intelligent.

2. I-dots that look like periods.  No slash, but firmly planted and round.  Churchill had a strong sense of loyalty to whatever group or idea to which he linked himself.

3. Notice how the y’s end or link up to the next letter by forming a v-shape to the right, rather than making their way left.  This reveals an aggressive nature.

4. Churchill enters his t’s and even l’s from above rather than from the baseline, which means that he prefers to be spoken to and dealt with in a direct manner.

5. The slant of Churchill’s writing leans toward the right.  He is expressive and highly motivated by his emotions and desires.

Thank you for reading!  Please respond with any comments or questions.

All the best,


Surprises and Concertos

Holywell Music Room on Hollywell St. has been the focal point of classical music in Oxford since 1748.  Haydn and Mozart have both performed on its stage, and now well-known musicians from all over still congregate here.  In late July, Chelsea and I decided to attend a concert here on our last day of four in Oxford.  The Adderbury Ensemble and pianist Viv McLean were to perform.  We walked in to buy our tickets and as we were paying, a man in black concert dress to the right of the ticket counter looked at us and said, “Oh, and you’re going to be turning pages for us during the concerto too, right?”  He had a smirk on his face, so I played along, “Of course!”  “Really?” he asked.  Again, I jokingly assured him, “Sure! I can do that.”  “Great!” he exclaimed, “We’ve been looking for someone to turn pages all day!”  At this point, I began to realize that perhaps this wasn’t a joke.  A series of confused questions and answers took place between this man and I, and before I knew it, he was saying, “Can I take you backstage to meet the pianist?”  I was taken through the hall, across the stage and through a door into a room where I was introduced to Viv, a handsome man who took my hand and bowed slightly, making me feel as if I were in a Jane Austen movie.  Both men kept thanking me profusely for being willing to turn pages, like it was a matter of life and death, when really it was I who was so thrilled to even be there!  I went back, shaking slightly, to take my seat and enjoy the first half as an audience member.

The ensemble played Divertimento in D by Mozart excellently.  Though they had no conductor, they moved together  effortlessly.  Then Viv McLean played a favorite of mine, Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor, followed by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, one of the pieces I can’t imagine anyone being able to memorize, but he had.  After that was the “interval” in which I nervously made my way backstage to wait with the musicians.  Whereas the ensemble and the pianist had played separately during the first half, they were now to play Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F minor together, and I was to turn pages for Viv.  I chatted with them for a while, and they were so pleasant and enjoyable that I was sad to have only known them for one evening.  Eventually we were all out on stage and the concerto had begun.  The music was absolutely beautiful, though I could hardly concentrate on it because I was so concerned with turning the pages at the right time, my fingers digging into my thighs, keeping count like my life depended on it.  Each of the three movements had probably 15 page-turns, some of them easier to keep track of than others.  Thankfully I only lost my place right near the very end during a 4-page-or-so-long period of triplet after triplet after triplet in the piano part, and Viv seemed to have it all by memory at that point anyway.

I was so honored to have been of assistance in this concert that I didn’t feel I needed anything in return, but I was given my 15 pounds back and also a free copy of the Adderbury Ensemble’s recent cd of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which has been a favorite of mine since the time of doing “ballet” and “figure skating” in the living room when I was little.  Below is a picture of me with the ensemble members on the left (some of them had already changed from concert dress), and Viv nearest me on the right.  I miss Oxford already!

All the best,