Hello all! Today, I’d like to talk a little about the forgotten art of letter writing. Most of the year, I don’t really think about it, but around Christmas and family birthdays, the lack of snail mail becomes quite noticeable. Each year we receive fewer Christmas cards. For instance, this year we sent out about three times as many as we got. We used to get just as many as we sent. I’m not complaining, it’s just an observation. It got me thinking about the yearly lack of letters (not that I can say much since I don’t send many either), so I thought I’d ramble a bit about it.
I’m actually one of the lucky few. I receive letters pretty regularly (granted, they’re from my sister in prison, so they usually say basically the same thing, but a letter’s a letter). It’s a subject I talk about with my friends a lot, and we all agree that we should start writing to each other more often, but we never do. Why? When did writing a quick note, stuffing it in an envelope, and putting it in the mail become such a hassle? People blame the Internet for making us lazy, but is that really it? I mean, it takes just as much effort to send an email or PM or whatever as it does to write a letter, it’s simply a different kind of effort. Don’t believe me? Then you’ve obviously never taught someone how to text or anything.
In a lot of ways, social media makes keeping in touch easier, but it’s really superficial. Don’t get me wrong, since most of my friends live far away from me, I love that social media keeps me up-to-date with them. I’m just saying that it also gives me the option of stalking these friends without actually interacting with them, like “oh hey! He posted something today. He’s alive. I’ll check in with him later.” But later never comes because it’s an endless cycle. You can’t do that with letters. In letters and cards, people often choose to let you deeper into their lives than “here’s a picture of my dinner!” or “look at my feet in this weird beach pic!” or whatever. Letters are personal.
Letters and cards also show that people are thinking about you. They require forethought, especially for events like birthdays and holidays. I love all of the birthday messages I get on Facebook (from the “happy birthday!” messages to the more personalized ones), but I always wonder what would happen if I turned off the notification. How many people would actually remember without Facebook telling them? A birthday card in the mail means someone put me in their calendar. It’s just really sweet.
Like I said, I can’t say much since I’m not very good about writing letters and sending cards and all that, but I do recognize that it’s a dying art form. I think it would be neat to get back into it, especially with friends. So, go out there and show someone you’re thinking about them outside of cyberspace. Write a note. If you don’t want to spend money on a stamp and they live close enough, slip it under their door or put it somewhere they’ll find it. Bring back the letter in all its glory! Or don’t. Whatever floats your boat.