December 29, 2010

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Brian and I have been discussing lately that no one writes letters anymore. This is somewhat funny because we've been getting tons of Christmas cards, and many of them are stuffed with the annual "here's what we've been doing/experiencing" letter. But really, other than that, who in our generation or the one behind writes letters?

This summer I read Karen Kingsbury's Baxter series, and the mother writes letters to the children and her husband over time. After she dies (yeah, I spoiled that one, didn't I?), these letters become precious to the family members and are even plot devices to move along the story. But, anyway...letters.

I'm spoiled. My hand cramps up when I write more than a couple of scribbled sentences. I type somewhere between 100 and 120 wpm, and writing seems both forced and ugly. I read in the Wall Street Journal, though, that it's very good for the brain - at least learning how to write is. So, while I'm glad I learned to write, I never got very good at it, preferring other modes of communication. Every year after birthdays and Christmas there were the obligatory thank-you's to be sent (hey, I had better do that this week), and I always struggled with trying to get the pen to anywhere near keep up with my brain. Fail!

Still, for posterity's sake, we're back to the discussion of letter writing. I believe there are some programs that'll sample your handwriting and make a font. I should invest in that - a bit of virtual mom/friend to share that's a little less impersonal than Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman. Here's one, btw.

There's something fairly egocentric about writing a letter - almost like...blogging! I mean, who really wants to read that I sit around the house all day avoiding doing work with occasional breaks with the family. I sometimes write about what I can see through my window (margially better and more interesting). In any event, unless the letter is a short query to the other person with the "how are you," it's mostly about some aspect of the letter writer's life or perhaps some shared initimacy with the recipient. I suppose those are the best.

So, letter writing. I need to do more of it. The only letters I've really written in the past couple of years have been to the Editor!


Posted by hln at December 29, 2010 08:45 AM | Housekeeping | TrackBack

Ted at Rocket Jones (he's changed URLs, BTW) is looking for pen pals. Drop him a line, sometime.

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