This week I received not one but two of those old fashioned letters. Remember them, a handwritten envelope with your name and address, real paper, real pen and lots of news, gossip and goings on! I love letters, I love receiving them and to be fair I do enjoy writing them too.
It has got me thinking about the art of letter writing. Is letter writing becoming a dying art? Aren’t people writing letters any more? Why is that? Is life becoming so busy and hectic we don’t have time? Is it because the process is too slow for our fast and frantic world? Is it because we no longer have the patience to wait for a considered reply? I guess there are many reasons, including, I don’t know how to write a letter. There will be those of us who argue that letters are written today, we know them as emails. Come on, do they really have the same effect? When was the last time you chat down with a cup of coffee and read a really good email? When did you last read and laugh about the adventures and antics your friend got up to while travelling to the other side of the world? I do write and receive emails, every day in fact. It’s a key part of the work that I do. But it’s not quite the same as a good old fashioned letter. The ‘ping’ of an email to my inbox just doesn’t have quite the same sound as a letter popping through the letter box and falling on the mat, come on, does it?
As a student in the 70s (pre email and inboxes) I received a letter every week from my grandmother. The letter was short and sweet with a few words about home and signed off in my granny’s familiar handwriting. At the bottom of each letter she drew a little bird and each letter contained a crisp £1 note. It was her practice on a Monday to collect her pension and post a letter to me when she went to the Post Office. Needless to say, the £1 notes have long since gone but my treasure trove of special things contains a couple of those lovely handwritten letters from her.
I’m launching a campaign to bring back good old fashioned letter writing. Care to join me? Today, take a pen, some paper, a brightly coloured envelope and write a letter to someone you know, love, would like to know better and just write until the pen stops!