When the postman came, he brought excitement and possibility. At least that’s how it was when I was a child. There might be a letter from a friend, a postcard from abroad, or a special item that I had ordered from the back of a comic book.
That is all but gone. The postal delivery employees now have to schlep bulk-mail advertisements, catalogs, and bills. Only rarely does a handwritten letter arrive. But when such a missive comes, I still feel that flash of excitement – the joy of finding something penned just for me. Sure, it doesn’t have the instantaneous effect of texting or the efficiency of communication by email. A letter by post is a different experience in its entirety – the visual and the tactile rolled together with personalization. Receiving a handwritten letter is a pleasurable experience.
But who has time to write anymore – so many things clamoring for our attention. And we have the many faster ways of connecting with friends via social media and mobile technologies.
Well, I’m engaging in my quixotic crusade anyway — a handwritten letter per week. Octegenarians might snort at that goal – they lived in an era of people writing multiple letters a day. Our options for communication are much broader now. Even so, I’m convinced that the medium of a handwritten letter is still viable and useful. Marshall McLuhan taught that the medium is the message – then what does the medium of handwritten personal note say?
It says I’ve taken some time just for you. Of course, the crafting of the letter is important. Taking time to write a letter about the Kardashians or Snookie is likely a colossal waste of time – save those ruminations for the ephemeral realm of the cloud where they will quickly be obscured and forgotten in the ever growing miasma of “Big Data”.
No, if you’re going to commit pen to paper and create an artifact – have something to say. Words of blessing, of thanksgiving, or praise. Remind the recipient how you’ve been influenced by them over the years. Pick up threads of some conversation that is special to your relationship. Make writing personal.
This is my goal anyway. Care to join me in the project? Drop me a text, and let me know how it goes.