The Art of Letter Writing
I have many books on my desk, most of them have to do with writing and novels. I do have one novel by Annie Proulx called Postcards. When I saw that novel’s title, I was reminded of a conversation a friend and I had some time ago. We discussed the lost art of letter writing. Baby boomers, like my friend and I, have written a lot of letters, on paper with a real pen, in our time, though perhaps not for a number of years. If you are a millennial, for example, you may have never written a letter except electronically. Maybe I’m doing you a disservice? Maybe you have written traditional letters? I would love for you to comment if you have!
Back to the subject. One of my first experiences with letter writing was when I was under ten years of age and had a pen pal. Francois lived in France and we wrote each other as soon as one received a letter from the other through high school. I often wonder what happened to her. As I grew up and went through undergraduate school, I wrote various cousins, boyfriends, and friends. By the time of graduate school, it was the early days of the Internet and everyone was fascinated by email. Letter writing for me was gone. It’s been gone ever since.
Life got busy. Electronic communication was quick and easy. In its defense, I would not have had time to keep up with many of the people I have without it.
I do, in some ways, miss letter writing. It’s a very personal way of communicating. You have to choose your stationery. Some people prefer to use a fountain pen, which you have to fill with ink. The person on the other end of the letter gets to see the person’s handwriting and feel their emotions more distinctly. New forms of electronic communication – email, messaging, texting, social media, chat rooms – aren’t nearly as personal. That, in fact, is why emoticons and stickers were developed. They try to convey the emotions that letter writing used to convey.
Reach out and touch someone by writing a letter. They will appreciate it!
Years ago I was advised by a mentor to always send people handwritten thank you notes rather than emails or Hallmark thank you cards. In today’s world of electronic communications, a handwritten thank you note stands out. The response to these notes was overwhelmingly positive.
It’s just sad that handwritten letters now belong in the past. I love handwritten cards.
Yes, the good old days of actual letter writing! Picking out the pretty or cute stationery, and a fountain pen with ink! I’ve written many letters, and had pen pals for a long time. Now, with ease of communication by email, I almost never send one, or receive one. It is so special to get a handwritten note card, or letter in the mailbox! 🙂