Mirror writing


A while ago, I read about Da Vinci's habit of mirror writing: writing right to left instead of left to right, with the letters backwards, such that the easiest way to read his personal notes was with a mirror. Being amused about this, I added the todo to my list:

Try mirror writing

That todo has been around awhile. I hadn't really prioritized it in my list, so it just sorta lingered.

Tonight, I decided to give it a try.

Except I forgot which way the mirror was supposed to go.

Da Vinci wrote right to left with reversed letters. The speculation was that, since he was left-handed and wrote left-handed (an unusual handedness of the time, as most south-paws were forced to use their right hands as children, because left-handedness was seen as a devil sign), he wrote his notes right to left to avoid smudging the ink.

More recent research, however, suggests that Da Vinci's propensity to mirror write may have been pathological or neurological, and not to keep his notes secret (as if reading mirrored writing is difficult) or smudge his ink.

Anyway, I hadn't known this at the time of my attempt, nor recalled the axis of the mirroring. Unsurprisingly, I chose the hardest mirroring, putting the mirror above the line I was writing and attempting upside‐down mirror writing. I looked into only the mirror to write, and found it annoyingly difficult, and surprisingly hard.

I eventually attempted other mirror directions, and, oh boy, is the Da Vinci right-to-left mirroring easier than upside-down mirror writing.

The whole thing cracked me up. Highly worth the entertainment value if you need a non-electronic distraction (hell, use said electronic device's screen as your mirror). I'm considering practicing regularly, just to get good at this delightfully amusing writing style.

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