Where I write

Where I write

August 12, 2011

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

I received a letter the other day. Yes, believe it or not, an actual hand written letter among the bills and advertisements in the mail. It was from my sister, Marilee, and it was on lined notebook paper in her cursive writing. (do they even teach cursive writing today in schools?) Years ago finding a letter in the mailbox would have been commonplace. It was the way we communicated. Believe it or not.  I used to write letters, and receive letters from long distance family and friends all the time. Now just licking a postage stamp on a birthday card and actually mailing it, feels so time consuming.

I realized how dependant I've become on emailing or texting when I received my sister's letter. It felt odd to actually read a letter from a loved one, which she actually wrote, and not stare at a computer screen. It felt like a work of art. Of course, the information was no longer as immediate as in an email, but there was a timeless quality. I imagined her sitting at her home in Southern Illinois, or perhaps in the library where she often spends time, composing her letter. After reading the handwritten letter, I wanted to save her letter unlike the emails I hit discard button on within moments after receiving. My sister wrote about simple things, a neighbor giving her peppers and tomatoes from his garden, the hot summer weather, a friend's illness. The real stuff of life. Nothing sensational, but important just the same. Here is a photo taken of me and my sister oh just a few days ago. Not really. Seeing this photo makes me realize it's been far too long since I last visited.

As writers, we are hooked to our computers. Paper and pen has been tossed aside for tapping on a keyboard. We've lost the art of letter writing. There doesn't feel as if there is enough time to sit and write with a pen. We lose something in our rush rush.  There is something about seeing someones handwriting that makes them feel closer, more personal. Knowing someone took the time to actually sit and write a letter and then mail it feels like a holiday, unlike all the other days, special.

 Still, I am blogging now and not writing an actual letter, but maybe one of these days I'll scrounge around and find some paper and actually sit down and write someone. It's a simple act, but special all the same. A gift. Along with her letter my sister tucked in an old photo of my mom and grandpa taken in 1929 or so. My sister sends the best letters.


Kathy K said...

I often think of writing a note to my kids, but then I just send an email. I hardly send birthday cards to friends and family anymore either. I just post on FB. Love your Blog Suzanne!

SunsetCindi said...

Real letters are so precious, lucky you! That's one reason I think I like having a PencilPal. I wait for their letters in the mail like I'm receiving lottery winnings. When my children were little I used to write long, descriptive letters to my good friend, Sandy, back east and to this day she says that it was a highlight to read them and kept us feeling like we were still knocking around together. Hang on to that letter, I love pulling out old letters and re-reading them, they're comforting, a real step back in time.
Love that hair!! We were all Farrah Fawcett!

Anonymous said...

I just got a handwritten post card from a friend and it really was fun to get something so personal. I could feel the indentations in the paper and I liked the idea that it came all the way from somewhere far away to my mailbox. :-)

Anonymous said...

I concur with the other commenters - letters are precious! I recently created "letterboxes" for some family members in an effort to force letter writing upon them and as a special way for them to keep in touch with my daughter across some soon-to-be added miles. Thanks for your post, it has inspired me to share my letterbox craft and poem on my blog (using the Internet to inspire letter writing...a vicious cycle of communication avenues!).

Anonymous said...

very interesting article! I will follow your themes.
Can I subscribe to your posts on Twitter or on your Facebook profile?