The increased use of computers and cellphone texting has de-emphasized handwriting among younger generations.

However, Chia-Lin Pao Tao, a professor in the University of Arizona Department of East Asian Studies, says Chinese calligraphy has relevance for her students.

“Those who practice calligraphy can live longer,” says Pao Tao. “Why? Because this is a way to meditate.”

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Pao Tao immigrated to the United States in 1961, and she says that as a young graduate student she gave up calligraphy because her busy schedule simply didn’t allow time for it.

“I almost couldn’t find my brushes,” she says. “Then one day I met a calligrapher and he said, ‘You have talent; you have to practice.’”

Pao Tao, who is teaching a class on Chinese popular culture this semester, says the benefits of pursuing the ancient art are far reaching and can have an impact other aspects of life.

“Calligraphy has some kind of magic power,” she says.