Sunday, April 10, 2011

An Argument for the Art of Letter Writing

Dear you,

How are you? No, really, tell the truth. Is the weather tolerable? Are you stressed out? Do you want to talk about it? You can talk to me, you know. I'm here.

I'm swell, thanks for asking. I'm busy, in a mostly good way. I'm excited, in general. It's probably going to rain all week but I'm fine with that. I'm happy. And I'm been thinking. About a lot of things. Like letter writing.

These days, it seems like the only people who write letters are the politically active and the unemployed. And me. For some reason, that disappoints me.What ever happened to longhand and stamps and waiting more than two seconds for your message to be delivered? It's not like people actually reply to emails promptly anyway, or at least not in my experience. What's so great about instantaneous communication?

Do you remember when you were younger, when you'd run outside, practically barefoot, to check the mail in the morning? You would lift up the flap or pull open the door of that promising mailbox and extract a letter, addressed to you! Maybe it was a birthday card from your grandmother or maybe it was your first bank statement but, hell, you could taste the happiness on your tongue as it radiated through you. Those moments were the highlight of your week and no one has ever been so excited about a paper cut.

Those days are gone, replaced with email, texting and Post It notes. 'Pen pal' is a foreign word to today's youngsters. Snail mail is nothing but a forgotten relic of a slower time, a way for technologically retarded people to get their phone bills.

Well I reject that reality and substitute my own.

Lately, I've been writing letters. It's not because I have a lot of time on my hands and it's not because I'm worried that technology will be the the downfall of civilization, though I won't negate that possibility either. Call me a Luddite if you will but I'm sticking to my opinion that letters make the world better.

Maybe I'm clinging to the past; maybe I should let the postal system slip through my fingers, let it fall into complete obscurity and obsolescence. But the piece of me that stores nostalgia in its fibers won't let go. In days of 'lol' and 'ttyl', I don't feel like abbreviating. I want to be thoughtful. I want to write slowly, with purpose. I want hand cramps and ink stains and the disgusting taste of envelope glue on my tongue.

Call me crazy but I'll continue to stick to this habit like stamps on envelopes. Letter writing feels good. You should try it.


p.s. I feel like this letter needed a postscript in order to remain true to form. That's all.

1 comment:

Vita said...

Having a mail slot in my front door, not a letter box, I sadly never got to experience running across the yard to get the mail. I do that to fetch the the newspaper, though.

Anyway, I applaud your efforts to, like, get the world to take a chill pill. Effort is nice and letters are personal. At the very least, you cared enough to find a pen and some paper, you know?