Gee

Evidently fishhook “g” vs looptail “g” is a thing being studied, including impact on early literacy.

One of my earliest memories, learning to read, sitting on my bed trying to puzzle my way through P. D. Eastman’s classic “Are You My Mother?” and it’s going okay until I encounter that looptail “g”, which at the time is entirely esoteric, because I don’t know it’s a “g”, a second kind of “g”, the typeset “g” of certain fonts.

What letter is this? I thought I’d learned them all, but apparently there’s one more? I feel as if I’ve uncovered a secret, as if I’m glimpsing something I’m not supposed to see.

Uneasy, I almost abandon the effort to go ask for help deciphering it. But I don’t want to admit defeat (or secret knowledge), want to read the damn book. Instead double down, forge ahead, trying to force this mystery letter to reveal its identity by coaxing meaning from those intact words around it, piecing together this already familiar narrative.

I remember feeling disappointed at the realization that it isn’t a new letter at all, just another way of writing “g”—“g”, which was never the most inspiring of letters to begin with …

But you know somewhere in my 20’s I fell in love with the handwritten looptail, and I’ve been writing my “g”‘s that way ever since.

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