Friday, April 28, 2017

Considering the Benefits of Letter Writing

As the United States' National Card and Letter Writing Month, as well as the UK's National Stationery Week, comes to a close this weekend, this seems like a good time to consider some of the benefits of handwritten correspondence.

The first thing that comes to mind is that handwriting a letter requires that we slow down in a world that is often too fast-paced for our own good. For starters, when I write in a hurry, my handwriting is terrible. So, the slower I go, the better I write. That's probably true content-wise, too. When I write fast, I tend to leave out letters or words, subconsciously combining words. For example, "with the" becomes "withe." Being aware of such things forces me to slow down and write a proper letter.

Secondly, the entire ritual of letter writing -- using a pen to hand-write a message on stationery, folding it and putting it into a stamped and addressed envelope and then putting it in the mailbox -- invokes an air of gracious living. When we do that, we are somehow more civilized than we are when we're posting something silly on Facebook or sending out an abbreviated text message.

And then there's the fun part of the process. Sending a "real" letter gives us the chance to add a "P.S." at the end, enclose a stick of our favorite gum and then decorate the outside of the envelope with colored pens and stickers. We can even choose postage stamps to match the color of the envelope, the mood of the letter or the personality of the recipient.

This weekend, try writing a letter to someone who usually doesn't write letters. While you might be less likely to receive a return message, there's always the chance you might introduce a new letter writer into the world.

Happy letterwriting!

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