Letters to Live By

I was considering recently that the art of letter writing is absolutely lost to us. I remember that as little as 10 years ago I still held actual letter correspondences. And the act of really taking the time to write about my life and my feelings and inquiring into the well being of others was relaxing. The anticipation of a return and finally having the product in my hand to read and laugh over was delightful. It seemed that the person cared because they took the time to craft something personal.

I was listening to the John Tesh radio show the other day and he mentioned how the stationary business is suddenly booming because people are starting to realize that writing letters was awesome. Emails come off as distant and all the romance is completely removed.

There’s something sweet and romantic about a shoe box full of old letters. Yellowing and cracking with age. The ink slowly disappearing. It really symbolizes Time and all the affects it has on our lives. As a grandmother it’s nicer to look through old letters, smelling the hint of past lives on the fragile paper than it is to boot up the old laptop and search through your archived Gmail messages.

When soldiers were off at war so many years ago they received hand written discourse from their mothers and girlfriends. Sadly some of those were Dear John letters. But that, to me, would probably be better than a Dear John email with a bunch of winky faces or sad faces stuck in. Granted email makes it easier to stay in touch with pictures and videos. You can Skype and all that to have real time interaction with your loved ones.

Emails serve their purpose in the business world and for super long distance conversations. But I would still rather receive a birthday card and letter as opposed to some animated singing thing through the internet.

It is because of this that when a good friend of mine told me that she was going to start writing me letters and that we would have a Fitzgerald – Hemingway letter correspondence I immediately agreed. Not just because of my (and her own ) literary background. And not just because I consider Fitzgerald to be an absolutely brilliant writer. But because I wanted that experience for my life. I want the shoebox in the closet. I want the chance to receive real letters and the cathartic act of writing my own letters.

Plus, as she mentioned, when we are older (and clearly brilliantly famous) we can put them all together and make them into a book. How beautiful!

Most certainly an admirable way for me to spend some of my excess time.