For years, I’ve been saying I’d like to single-handedly revive the art of letter writing. I buy stationery and note cards and store them away like little nuts. I think about the pen pals I had as a child. I think about our mailman, Frank, who was so sweet. He always gave our dog Penny treats. On Saturdays, I’d run out to greet him, and at Christmas we gave him cookies.
It’s not the same, dashing out letters though email. Even when I take the time to write a longer letter, I don’t get much satisfaction out of it. I’m still dashing, and I’m still just crossing a task of the list. What’s missing are the senses. Pretty stationary, a pen in hand, vision straying into space rather than being glued to a screen.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because last month I whetted my appetite for sending and receiving snail mail. I gathered a group of like-minded souls on Facebook and hosted a snail mail Valentine revival. It was so fun! Some of my old friends even wrote letters in their cards. It struck me that it wouldn’t be hard to slow down for 30 minutes to write an actual note to a friend. Maybe once a month, randomly, just to say “hi.” It’s totally doable and would give me such pleasure.
So, yesterday I relaxed at my favorite bistro and wrote a letter to T. We’ve been friends since Kindergarten. It’s an amazing thing that we’re still in touch. Sporadically, but that’s OK. We agree that it’s nice knowing we’re out there even if we’re not constantly communicating.
She’d sent me an email back in January to tell me how much she liked KILMOON. To quote her because her words were so sweet:
One of the most interesting things was after a short while I wasn’t thinking of Kilmoon as “my friend Lisa’s book.” I was just thinking of it as this really gripping mystery. It’s a testament to your writing skills that I didn’t think of the person behind it.
Awww, I loved that, and I decided to hand-write her a response to a personal question she’d asked. It took me six weeks, but I was so proud of myself for writing the letter that I said to the waiter, “Look at me, I’m writing a letter!”
The boyish man was in his early twenties. He said, “I’ve never done that before. But I received a letter once.” (My reaction: WOW, that’s totally nuts.)
He said he’d been thinking about writing a letter to the friend who wrote him. I hope seeing me with my cute Mutts stationery inspired him!
What about you? What would it take for you to relax over a piece of stationary and write a letter?