The Lost Art of Letter Writing

I went out to the mailbox yesterday and tucked in with the immediately to be recycled junk mail was a hand addressed letter.  I opened it wondering what I might find and it was a real letter.  This full page missive from my uncle in Florida was a wonderful treat and had me smiling the rest of the day.

I like to write letters, but don’t do so very often now.  I did more when I was younger; my grandparents and other family would send letters periodically and then there were also friends who lived far away with whom I could correspond.  Also, as I remember it, Pen Pals were all the rage in the 80’s.  I know I had at least one Pen Pal in school and I think one that I found on my own.  My connection with them was short lived, however, and I doubt if a single letter remains in my memory box as a reminder.  

To be fair I grew up in the 80’s and early 90’s well before the internet, email, text, SMS, Google+, and Facebook.  It was long before the days where 140 characters on Twitter conveys the content of our day to anyone interested in reading.  These snippits of conversation now are shorter, less punctuated (unless you consider smiley faces and sideways hearts punctuation,) and barely capitalized.  Let’s not even go into the lack of proper grammar lest you, the reader, cringe.

Letters seem to be better thought out than emails or other typed communication.  If you don’t want to have to edit and re-write you really think about what you want to say before writing it.  In this way receiving a letter, to me, conveys that someone took the time to think about me, and what they wanted to share.  It is the intention which speaks louder than simply the words on the page: read between the lines.

I still like to send out cards, not just holiday greetings.  When I travel I like to send postcards, which might just be the olden days version of tweeting.  Occasionally, I pull out blank notecards to send off with a few words.

But back to the letter I received.  Because it filled me with such enjoyment I want to share that feeling with others.  I’m going to make an intention to start sending out more cards and letters that have real content to them.  I hope they brighten people’s days in the same way that they do mine.  While this many not be as quick as shooting off an email, I think the inherent value of taking the time to write and communicate with the people you care about is a good thing.

Let me know if you’d like me to send one to you.

One Reply to “The Lost Art of Letter Writing”

  1. Kirsten,

    I personally snail mail to a total of 7 people consistently now over the past few years. I try to think how much I love to get a letter in the mail box and think others do also. I also think I am personally keeping the USPS in business.


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