Sunday, September 26, 2010

Letter Writing -- Keep It Alive

The other day, I made myself sit down and hand write a note to a friend. When I was done, I sat back, smiled contentedly at my creation and wondered why it was such a struggle to sit down in the first place?

I love writing letters.

I love making words beautiful and snappy and readable. I love watching my personality unfold as line after line flows from my pen onto the paper. I love dashing off a sixteen page letter to my best friend about the things I'm struggling with... and crumpling it all up for the fire (most of the time, that is ;-)). And when I am so happy that I want to dance, well, all of those get sent. ;-)

But the past few months haven't been for letter writing. Most of the time I was out-of-this-world busy. The times I wasn't, I simply wanted to sit and veg.

I didn't realize how much I had missed it until yesterday, when I grabbed my letter writing makings and sat out on the deck in the evening sunlight. My friend had a baby earlier this year (her 5th) and sent me a birth announcement... which I was replying to. (Just a few months late!) I remember getting similar letters from her when each of her children were born... and some very sad letters when her son William went to be with Jesus. Further years back, I still have the letter she wrote to inform me of her engagement to her now husband... and somewhere in my stashed away belongings, her letters as a 17 yr. old girl, writing to an 8 yr. old me. 16 years of scribbled cards and paper and pictures. I could show you on one hand the times we've met during these years... but, believe me, the letters are slightly more numerous. She has been so faithful in her letter writing and her friendship to me.

When I am feeling a little lost and I'm counting the things that never change, she is listed among them.

Letter writing is in my blood because my Mama has always written letters. Even when she was really busy with all of us kids, I can see her sitting at the table, writing to her Grandpa and Grandma. (Btw, just so you know the type of woman my Mom is, once when her Grandma sent her a check for her birthday, she insisted that Mom spend it on herself and she also wanted feedback as to what Mom purchased. Lol!) So for me to have a big box of stationary and cards and my favorite pens is perfectly normal.

But the more I am around people, the more I realize how many people can't even sign their own names legibly. And letter writing? Let's not even go there. I'm not criticizing them. The age of computers and email and Facebook and Blogs are upon us. If I did not have a history of letter writing, would I? It's so easy to type on my laptop and connect with people over Facebook.

I love Facebook! I love my blogs. I love Gmail. :-) And I especially love Google. Hehe.

But they can never replace a letter in the mailbox. My Facebook notifier will never give me the thrill of slitting open an envelope and pulling out a hand written missive. Twelve emails in my Inbox will never embrace my senses with the sender's subtle scent. And while special emails may get Archived, they'll never end up in my special letter box.

How many people in the past few years have had the joy of opening their mail box and finding a big, fat, juicy letter addressed to them?

Here is a challenge: Once a week, write a note (it doesn't have to be a letter!) to someone. Ask how they're doing. What the weather has been like. What has been happening in your life. Something funny that happened to you in the past year. Remind them of an old memory you have together. Envelop them with your special scrawl and scent and thoughts.

Keep this art alive.

P.S. I'm going to try to keep my own challenge. ;-)


Carrie said...

Oh I love writing letters!
I don't have a lot of friends who do, but I so love getting them!
Writing letters is so much nicer than FB notes or emails. I just love stationary :D

Naomi said...

Yay! :) I love stationary, too. I especially love it when it's so beautiful, I'm inspired to use my best handwriting. :)

have you seen this site? They sell some of the most beautiful stationary that I've ever seen:

I love getting their catalogs...

Anonymous said...

I love love love getting mail and sending it too! There is nothing like an old fashioned letter for sure.
What a blessing to have a friend, that much older than you, who took the time to write and maintain a friendship with you!

Naomi said...

Jac, I love getting mail, too. :-) :-)

I think it is so important for older girls to be friends with younger girls. I have gained so much wisdom through my older friends. I can't imagine where I would have gotten it otherwise! God has been so good to me... this friend is not the only one who has been very faithful in friendship. :-)

rebekah said...

I write so many letters I can't keep all I receive anymore! :P lol

I have a ton of penpals and love them dearly!

I agree, an email just isn't the same as a handwritten note.

I don't care if it's short~ a handwritten note says "I care about you" a lot louder than an email does!

The technical age is lovely. But I think it lacks in some very important qualities.

There~ now you have my 2 cents worth. lol :D

Anonymous said...

Great post! To tickle your letter writing fancy, you might also check out this project: Neat stuff.

Naomi said...

Bekah... I love your two cents. 'Specially when they're same as mine. :)

And Anonymous, thanks for the comment and the link! :) I appreciate you taking the time.

Singing Pilgrim said...

I love writing letters. When my best friend Lydia was in California, we exchanged letters and it was wonderful. It really enriched our friendship (we live near each other again now). I've actually wanted to do what you're challenging us to do before.. but I never have enough money for stamps! I love letters better, but emails are free... sigh.