I’ve committed myself to reviving a dying art form – the art of the longhand, written letter. I sent out a plea for addresses on social media, and I’ve gotten some good response, from a good mix of folks (entirely people I knew in high school) and I’m sending out my first letters today. I’m doing this for several reasons:
My penmanship is in need of improvement. I haven’t written anything longhand in forever, because our worlds are virtually now entirely electronic. Sometimes I take notes and I can’t for the life of me read the words I’ve just taken down on the page. I’ve written a handful of letters today and I’m already beginning to see some improvement.
The medium is attractive. There’s something in a longhand, written letter that you simply don’t get somewhere else. The length of time it takes to write longhand has a tendency to meter our thoughts into something succinct enough to survive until it can be put on paper. There’s also a peculiarity about writing several paragraphs to somebody that you won’t receive an interaction from until the post is returned. There’s that sort of ongoing thought about the story you’ve told or the question you’ve asked while the mail is in transit that is sort of fun to savor. I think it also leads to good storytelling. While I try to get that across in social media there’s definitely a big difference between sharing a memory with one person and one person only than sharing it on their wall or your wall or in a message.
I like anachronism. Someday I feel like I’m going to write a historical novel in which the characters write letters. Written letters are thousands of years old, while e-mail is a handful of decades. There’s something satisfying about the *lack* of immediacy. Somebody has actually sent me physical substance via post from the place where they’re from – they’ve held it in their hands and sent it away to me. With e-mail it’s just electricity. Boring old immediate electricity.
Perhaps I’ll update you all when I get my first responses and then send replies. In the mean time, if you wish to get a letter from me or send me a letter, you know where on social media to find me.