November 11, 2011

Why Don't We Write Letters Anymore?

When was the last time you wrote a letter? For me, other than a note to a teacher (cards or diaries not included) I think it's been about fifteen to twenty years. Is it too difficult in this day and age to pick up a pen and paper and write a simple letter? Have we become technological snobs, me included?

Do you know that according to World Vision Website:

Exchanging handwritten letters can have a positive impact on child development, yet as many as one in five children in the UK have never received a letter.

I was thinking, Why isn't there a National Letter Writing Day? Guess what? There is. It's through World Vision and although this is an incredibly worthy cause, I'm looking more at the general art of letter writing as a way to express and share feelings and thoughts on paper. Yes, you can express love and meaning in an email or text, but just like holding a book, holding a letter in your hands is an extraordinary touching and sentimental experience.

Did you have a pen pal when you were growing up? You'd probably have to be over 25 to fully appreciate pen pals. You didn't hook up on the net and have a live chat. You'd wait for that letter to arrive. Some times it would take weeks or months. The anticipation of knowing a letter was on its way to you and the excitement of actually having to wait for something was, and is, 'priceless'.

I had a Japanese pen pal. She'd send me the most beautiful written letters, cards, and stickers. I can't remember now what she wrote about, but I do remember the care and attention she used to write each letter. I also was incredibly lucky to receive hand written letters from my Nana. I still have them bundled up in a special place. I can't part with them just like I can't part with some of my precious books.

I have her letters in the physical sense and the memory of what those letters meant to me as a child will last my lifetime. They made me feel special because she had taken the time to write to me.
Printed Notepad: Graphic

So, my challenge to you today, is to write a letter. Go on and treat yourself to some gorgeous stationary and pull out your favourite pen and write.

Here's some suggestions for your letter writing. Write a letter to:
*Your teenage self. What do you wish you'd known back then?
*Your parents, grandparents, or your brother or sister.
*Your old school friend or even the school itself.
*A thank you letter to someone who's been kind and thoughtful.
*A friend in need who needs love and support.
*A love letter to your spouse, partner, girl/boyfriend.
*Your children. Let them know how proud you are and what they mean to you.
*Someone famous you'd like to meet.
*A time capsule. 'If you're reading this then I'll tell you what life is like in the year 2011.'

You can also get creative and give/send your letter in a non traditional fashion. Yes, it makes sense to put it in an envelope (aka snail mail) but what about a glass bottle, wooden box, a scrap book album, a paper plane, paper fan, box of chocolates, or tie it to your dogs collar?  Now that's creative. This would make an interesting school activity too.    


DimbutNice said...

Renee, what a truly inspired post! I loved it. I was always an avid letter writer and like you, some of my most precious keepsakes from my grandparents are their beautifully written letters from their farm to their grandaughter in the city states away. I also fostered a post bag full of pen pals in Europe through the International Youth penpal scheme when a in school. Almost 30 years on and I am still close friends with four of them. We have visited each other dozens of times; the friendship has endured thanks to the humble introduction via letters. Why do I like letter writing? You can't smell the perfume sprayed on an email and you can't measure a persons personality from times roman font. Handwriting, no matter how dreadful, is an artform.

Unknown said...

Oh, thanks Dimity. Handwriting is so precious and unique to each individual. It surprises me how much my handwriting has changed over the years. One of the letters I wrote my Nana I forgot to send and I still have it.

I remember writing letters to my friends in high school-now that's really showing my

I really hope the art of hand writing doesn't become obsolete because when you think about how much schooling and society has changed if phoning someone or emailing is too much hassle. What hope does handwriting have? Quicker isn't always better.