Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Snail Mail" and the lost art of Letter Writing .....

Since the advent of the internet and email, it seems to me that we write to each other less and less these days.  I'm talking about the putting of pen to paper, writing a letter and posting it to someone by "snail mail".  I can't remember the last time I actually did that myself.

I've been thinking about it lately and realise that there are people in my life that do not have email.  They do not have Facebook or other forms of social networking.  There are people that find modern technology overwhelming and all too hard to contemplate.  They are mostly the older generation, the ones that have not grown up with computers, but rather with pen, paper and stamps. 

When I first broke up with my ex-husband 16 years ago I didn't have a computer, so sending emails to anyone was not an option.  I had several friends that I used to write to all the time and I'd wait in anticipation of their return mail.  It was wonderful to have friends to write to and express my happiness and a lot of sadness at that time and feel their love and encouragement coming back in the return letters.  I felt their arms around me through those letters.  I felt the hugs that they could not physically give me in their words ..... and I truly loved receiving those letters.  They were something that I so looked forward to.  I used to write to my grandmother at the same time and she was a wonderful support to me through it all ... she has since passed away and I still have some of the letters that she wrote to me and occasionally read them with fond memories.  Even when her writing got worse and she used to tell me "I have terrible handwriting now" (and they were sometimes hard to understand) ... I still read those letters and feel her love.
Letters were something that men or women used to write to the one that they loved.  Perfume was often sprayed on the paper so that the scent of the person would permeate the air when the letter was opened.  So that 'he' would know that 'she' was the love of his life.

Email is the easy way to write to someone these days, and since the advent of TWITTER and FACEBOOK it is now often a message on someone else's wall or a personal message .... or even a TWEET.  

I had a friend who said to me a little while ago that she loves getting mail in the post and she has sent me a couple of little notes and a Christmas card.  So I've decided to start writing letters to people more often.  I've been thinking about this for a while and have decided that since it has been on my mind for quite a long time, that it's something that I need to do.  

My mum doesn't use the internet, doesn't even have a computer, and even if she did have a computer she wouldn't know how to use it.  Sadly my mother is in the early stages of dementia and learning new skills is impossible for her at this point.  I speak to her on the phone a little less than I should and even though I know that she probably wouldn't write back to me, because she forgets to, at least she would have the pleasure of knowing what is going on in my life and receiving that in the form of a letter.

I think we live in an 'INSTANT' type world now .... a world where we often want everything ' yesterday '.  We don't want to wait for things ... everything is urgent.  We seem to have lost the patience of yesteryear and allowed this busy and sometimes crazy world to take over.  
I love the internet and all the good things that it brings to life.  I love blogging and without the internet that wouldn't be possible for any of us.  But I also love the good old-fashioned art of letter writing and I've decided that this year I'm going to do more of it.


VickiT said...

Leonie, this is very true. I guess the situation you describe is partly because we have such busy lives now. Much busier than years ago. Good luck with your letter writing.

Anna said...

What a great post, I agree with you 100%. I used to write lots of letters and loved receiving them. Maybe I should be starting to write more letters again too. Good luck with your endeavor.

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

I love this post and agree with pretty much everything you've said.
I'm taking part in 52 Weeks of Mail, which was set up to encourage us all to send more snail mail.

Charlotte said...

How fantastic that you still have letters from your Grandmother. I have kept special ones that Mum has written me too. (oh and Dad!)
It's a great goal to have, to write more letters. Such a personal way to let someone know you're thinking about them!

Ruby Claire said...

Though form of letter writing has changed from letter to email, but A letter is given more important in all official work ...

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sister outlaws said...

I think we do live in a very instant and very reactive world. Writing a letter is more considered and thought through than a message or tweet. Hooray for snail mail!