I wrote a blog many years ago (iWeb days) entitled “The Lost Art of Letter Writing”, but for some reason, the desire to get back to the basics of “old-school” communication, is stronger right now than ever before. To say I’m tired of Facebook and emails and texts to communicate important, sensitive words…is an understatement. Those just don’t do it.
So, ok, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because I either, don’t keep them, or…don’t start them at all, or get completely side-tracked along the way. I believe that resolutions should happen on the daily….because we none-of-us are perfect…so failure at a resolution just intensifies the fact that we’re flawed.
So this is a decision; and a goal for 2017.
“Write with a pen or pencil or marker or Crayon on a piece of paper and put it in an actual envelope, address it, put a stamp on it and mail it.”
So this is my challenge to anyone reading this blog: WRITE WITH YOUR OWN HAND ON PAPER!!
Here’s another challenge: As soon as you can, take a piece of paper…fancy stationery or a piece of college-ruled notebook paper…and hand-write a letter/note to your parents, your grandparents, your caregivers, to someone/anyone who has played a special part of your life. I did this several years ago with David and with my parents. There’s nothing like getting a note in the mail written in the actual handwriting of the person who sent it. Believe me…it makes an amazing difference to the receiver.
Our children and grandchildren are missing out on the value of seeing the hand-written words of their “ancestors”…so let’s restart this thing. This tradition. This old-school writing on a piece of paper.
Disclaimer: I have nothing against modern technology. I am using it as I type these words. It’s a wonderful benefit in today’s time of getting a message to someone when time is of the essence.
I am addicted to Jane Austen: her life, her writings, her times, her stories, her viewpoints, and the movies that have been subsequently made of her books. I am fascinated by the time and effort it took to write and deliver letters. The painstaking time of having to write letters on parchment, dipping the tip of a feather in ink, sealing it with wax, etc.
I have several boxes full of letters that I have received through the years: letters from David from when we were dating and notes he has left me through these 25+ years of marriage; letters from dear friends and family who live far away; notes from CD that still bring a giggle to my heart. I even have the letters that David’s grandfather wrote his grandmother when they were just newly married. I have copies of letters that my mother wrote to her mother when I was very young.
There’s just something about being able to pull out a card or letter or note and look at it and relive the moment you received it. There’s an emotion attached to it. There’s something about a friend’s or family member’s handwriting that makes us feel something. Printing out an email you receive just doesn’t have quite the same feeling.
A couple of years ago on our local news, they had a piece entitled “Email Etiquette.” Some of their advice was “Don’t use all caps; it makes you seem angry,” “Avoid lengthy sentences and/or paragraphs; the receiver probably won’t take the time to read it,” “Remember that your tone is rarely expressed in an email,” “Limit use of abbreviations (ie. ROFL, IOW, TMI, TTYL, etc.), “Forget about a salutation (of a serious nature.”)
I keep a journal…and now and then I’ll take it and enter it into a file on my computer…just an ongoing “life-story” that literally goes back to when David and I first married. I was tempted to throw away the paper versions, simply to declutter my life, and David was adamant that I not do that. He said, “One day, when you’re dead and gone [thanks Davo!], someone may want to look at my actual words written in my own handwriting.” He reminded me how important it is to see “what” and “how” I wrote at any given time in the past. I still handwrite all my journal entries, and keep every single page in notebooks on my bookshelf.
When you think of the Declaration Of Independence, for example: it’s one thing to pull it up on the internet and read through the words. It’s quite another to go to the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. and walk right up to that glass case and read the original document with your own eyes. Something in the handwriting seems to be living and breathing.
This week, as I was cleaning a closet, a found a basket chock full of blank note cards, postcards & stationery. So I’m going to be doing more letter-writing with my very own hand. Watch your mail boxes. And I challenge all of us to do the same. I’ll watch my mail box, too. :O)