Monday, March 29, 2010

Writing Letters: A Lost Art?

There was a time when the only way of communicating with someone long distance was by sending a letter.  That's all changed with email, instant messaging, cell phones and texting.  People's lives have become so busy that there is little time to sit down and write a letter.  Today if someone wants to contact a person long distance, they pick up a phone rather than put pen to paper.

Are there times when it is important to communicate with someone quickly?  Of course there are.  Sometimes you need a reply to something that can't wait for the time it takes a letter to arrive by mail.  There are also times when a person wants to be able to hear another person's voice.  Who doesn't like hearing the words 'I love you' or 'I miss you?'

When you send or receive a letter, those words are permanent.  A letter is a moment in time that has been put down on paper.  That moment can be relived over and over every time that letter is read.  'I love you' or 'I miss you' can sometimes mean so much more when read on paper, because more thought was put into the words being written down.

My grandfather, who is 95 years old, saves all the cards and letters he receives.  Every so often he will pull them out and share them with me.  When I was younger, I never appreciated it as much as I do now.  That shoebox is filled with a lifetime of memories and a documented history of bits and pieces of people's lives.

Am I guilty of calling or emailing someone rather than taking the time to sit down and write a letter?  Yes, I am.  I occasionally send out cards with a few handwritten sentences, but that is not the same as taking the time to write a letter.  A letter lets the recipient know that they were important enough for you to take the time to sit down and put some thought into the handwritten words put down on paper.

Has letter writing become a lost art?  I hope not.  What can replace the joy of getting an envelope filled with news from a relative or friend?  If I get excited about finding a letter in the mail, how excited must the recipient feel when they receive one from me?

Are you a letter writer?  If not, will you make the time to sit down and write a letter this week?


Deb Hockenberry said...

Great post, Susanne. It gave me something to think about!

Jill said...

I still am a letter writer, and totally agree that there's nothing like receiving one in snail mail. I love the variety of stationery designs available today, and make sure I have plenty on hand for that inpromptu note of thanks or letter of encouragement.

Folks do appreciate that extra step taken to write them, and tend to save those notes. It's a nice touch. I still have quite a few of the ones I've saved over the years.

Thanks for the post!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Deb, thanks for stopping by.

Hi Jill, thank you for your comments.
I found some pretty stationary at our local dollar store recently, so I'll be sending out some letters to family and friends real soon!


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