Friday, March 12, 2010

Write a Letter Right Now: The Blessing of Paper Correspondence

Around two weeks ago, I got a surprise package in the mail. The sender included many thoughtful gifts for our family, but I most loved the enclosed letter from my friend.

Her handwriting, humor, and forthright personality reminded me that despite substantial distance and the passage of time, my friend and I still exist in each other's daily lives. Small actions (like the habit of tearing plastic windows out of envelopes before recycling), gestures, and environmental cues (book titles, dog breeds, places) offer me perpetual reminders of people I don't see as often as I would like.

I encourage you to pick up a pen and drop a line to someone who might enjoy hearing from you.

When I wrote my friend back by hand, it was a real shift from typing at my keyboard. I banned myself from looking up anything online during the duration of the letter (book titles were the true agony). It was strange to commit ideas to the page, and I found myself working more deliberately. The easy pace and ability to commit myself wholly to the letter was relaxing and joyful. Ranger and I added a few thumbprint embellishments a la Ed Emberley and I even doodled an ocean scene on the back of the envelope. It was the most luxurious way I have passed an hour in months. My life felt so much less harried because I had the available time to put pen to paper.

I mailed her letter a week ago. Yesterday, in a modern postal miracle, there were three handwritten pieces of mail for me. With the gladness of those special notes, I sat down last night and penned a letter to someone who can makes me laugh so hard my ribs hurt. Knowing my friend's insanely busy life, I don't expect a reply. I want her to know that I miss her and she still makes me smile all the time.

This could turn out to be addictive.

Who could you write today?

***Baby Toolkit is the sometimes slapdash answer to what happens when a couple of tragically unhip geeks have kids. We are Amazon affiliates, so a small portion of purchases through our Amazon links does power the Baby Toolkit industrial complex (domain names and DSL service).


Michael Phillips said...

Alas, for some of us, writing for other people by hand is not at all relaxing. I think you have seen my handwriting at its best. Barely legible fading into illegible scrawl is where I start when I devote my best effort to writing. Now, sending physical mail still has major benefits for me, but I prefer to type it and print it and then mail it. (When I write for myself, I start at illegible scrawl and head downward.)

Mimi-n-Moe's Mom said...

I love handwritten notes...lately, though, I feel guilt when i receive thank you notes. I know I have forgotten to write so many of them! :)

Logan said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets unreseasonably excited when i get "real" mail. "Real" being defined as: anything besides junk and bills.

Lots of real mail has been an unexpected bonus to having a baby. Long distance friends and relatives send her stuff all the time, and since she can't read yet that means i get to open it!

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

Oh, I LOVE real mail!! Love it! But sadly, I am often very, very bad at writing.

Thanks for the reminder. :)

Francie said...

Recently finished the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which totally makes me want to sit down and write more letters to people who I care about and who will appreciate them. If you want to enjoy some "epistolary fiction" (a book consisting entirely of letters from one person to another), I encourage you to pick up this book today. Despite some serious topics (the setting is post-World War II in England & the Channel Islands mainly) there is much humor & joy for me in this book!