When’s the last time you wrote someone a letter?
No, not an email. A letter!
I used to love going to my letter box, desperate to see if someone had sent me something. Now, I dread it. All I get are bills, leaflets, and cobwebs.
Don’t get me wrong, emails are fantastic and definitely my preferred method of communication (I’m not a phone person). I send out a lot of emails, mostly professional, some personal. These days, however, when I want to chat with a friend, we text or send voice notes.
We’re no longer prepared to wait for news. We want it now! Patience has long evaded us.
And yet, I miss the beauty of snail mail. Sure, it wasn’t instant, and often the news was old or unimportant, but there was just something so special about all the time and effort that went into a letter.
It was a whole process, an art form if you like. Choosing the right paper, the correct pen, the matching envelope. I would spend ages creating the curls and swirls of the person’s name which I would always present big and bold at the top – a beacon to shout: This letter is for YOU.
Wow, what a mission, you might be thinking. Why would you want to do all of this with all the endless amounts of things that need to be done during the day? Rush Rush Rush. Busy Busy Busy.
Well, back then, maybe because I was so young, I didn’t feel the need to live my life in haste. There was not only pleasure in the end result, but also in the actual performance of the task itself. I loved sending letters just as much as I enjoyed receiving them. And nothing was more exciting than seeing a letter in my post box with my name on the front, handwritten of course.
Back in those days, mostly at school (a long, long time ago), we spent a long time either posting letters to each other, or passing them to each other at school. And just like fashion, our letters went through different stages:
The surf trend: Where we would all pretend to be into surf brands, and we’d draw big waves in our letters and stick pictures of surfers we had found in magazines.
The ‘get to know me’ trend: Where we’d start the letter off with random facts such as ‘Name, Date, Place, Time, Mood’. This was a hugely popular trend and lasted many years. It also took away the worry of not actually having anything to say in the letter as an entire page would be devoted to answering questions.
The typography trend: How interesting can you make your letter look? Maybe you write an entire letter in capital letters. Maybe you start on the edges and write around the page in a circle, around and around, until you end in the middle – a dizzying effect on the poor reader.
The fold trend: Once you’ve finished your letter, how well can you fold it? Some early form of origami was established here.
The trends changed often and the letters kept on coming. We were devout in our faith of letter writing and hailed before the king of ink.
Mostly, we had fun.
Emails serve their purpose. So do texts. But they’ll never provoke the same feeling as a good old-fashioned letter.