I just finished reading a New York Times review of a book about letter-writing (I doubt I’ll have time to read the book itself, To the Letter, by Simon Garfield) and was reminded once again how much I appreciate and enjoy the written word. I suppose that should be obvious, given that I am a writer and here I am writing on a blog. I’m not just one of those people who savors language and words and how, used just so, they can sometimes express what it feels impossible to share outside of the seemingly wordless depths of the heart. Sure, I can and do use the sublime gift of language to share my feelings and thoughts through electronic means, but I really do like to take a pen and commit those ideas on a more permanent medium. It just seems a bit more serious and heartfelt to show my feelings in a way that’s more tangible and keep-able.
I love to receive, too. And, yes, I’m one of those old-fogies-at-heart who bemoans the loss of the art of writing notes and letters. I still frequent the Hallmark store. I have pretty notepaper and thank-you notes, and I relish using my good ink pens, shaping letters carefully and making sure my words not only sound appealing but look nice as well. Since I like those things so much, I do enjoy receiving them, as well. I love knowing that someone I care about took the extra time to put pen to paper (or card) to express their love for and admiration of me.
Sure, I have folders in my documents file on the computer, some of which hold electronic correspondence from others, and I have kept emails that mean a lot to me. And it’s admittedly kinda nice that these don’t take up any physical space (neatness, too, is a virtue I value), but I also have a few boxes’ worth of just letters and cards from people who have meant a lot to me. They take up real estate in my closet, but I’d never part with them.
Perhaps at this time of the year, where we shop so much online and send e-holiday cards and e-gift cards, we could take just a few minutes to write a personal note. Maybe after Christmas, when life isn’t quite so hectic. Perhaps as part of a physical thank-you note to someone who gave us a gift we unwrapped or just has given us the gift of themselves, we can get out a nice ink pen and craft a few heartfelt words of love and appreciation. What a present that would be!