Today’s assignment is to reinvent the letter. May I ask what you mean? What is a letter other than a consonant or vowel used to make words? If you are referring to the archaic communication method of using a pen or pencil, paper, envelope and stamps to share my thoughts and feelings with another person in another location, I need to inform you that letter writing is a long-lost art. Today’s emotions, news, achievements, worries, love etc are shared via electronic media. Cell phones, Twitter, Instagram, E-mail, Facebook, WordPress there are so many ways that modern people share their lives. Lives are now on public display. It is old-fashioned thinking to consider a letter. Why would anyone want to share private thoughts, concerns and emotions with just another person? Why would anyone want to hold in his/her hand a piece of paper which shows someone else took time out of his/her busy schedule to put words to paper?
Of course I am being sarcastic but unfortunately, what I wrote is much too true for today’s generation. Communication is quick and efficient but not necessarily heartfelt. There are too many shortcuts, abbreviations and a real lack of time spent thinking about what they are writing. Words and thoughts are shared that will remain in cyberspace forever but most likely will not be remembered by anyone.
A real letter, words put to paper or card, share emotion in so many ways. Is there a hint of scent that reminds you of home? Of a lover? Of a friend? is the penmanship steady or does it show signs of age or worry or impatience? Is it descriptive, full of colorful words or does the writer choose simple words that feel as though the writer is holding back? How many times do you hold the letter? Smell the letter? Reread the letter? Save the letter?
I have a box of letter and cards that my ex-husband and I wrote when we were dating. While my marriage suffered an untimely death when my ex decided he had for 30 years a foot out the door. I have those letters and cards which speak of hopes, dreams and love. They are there for my children and any future generations to read, to hold, to smell and to get to know us 100 years from now.
4 thoughts on “Reinvent the Letter Writing 101”
This is lovely! I really like your smart opening, it really grabbed me! It’s sad that letter writing is dying, but I can’t tell if it’s good or bad, personally…
I think it’s sad. Letters are so personal and convey emotion in a way technology can’t. Thanks for the comment.
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This is amazing! My father has a letter saved from his grandfather to his grandmother. It’s a tangible link to the past you can’t get through technology.
Before my husband and I got married, we were in a long-distance relationship for a while — he in Cairo, me in San Francisco. And so I hand-wrote and sent cards and letters when I could (though the postal system in Egypt wasn’t reliable, so when I knew he was traveling abroad, I’d send stuff to him when he was on the road). This was in addition to our digital communication: the emails, WhatsApp messages, and tweets. We still give cards to one another, and share a Moleskine notebook where we take turns writing entries to one another, so I’m glad we’ve kept on with this handwritten tradition. I hope it continues.
Great response to this prompt!
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