Snail Mail: or, the Power of the Pen

Since I don't have Facebook (more on that will be coming soon), I'm out of the cyber-loop with most of my friends.  Luckily, there are still phone calls; but even better, I have a significant number of friends and relations who enjoy writing and receiving letters.  Yes, letters - you know, the kind where you pick a pretty piece of paper and use that archaic mechanism known as a pen, for the purpose of communicating one's thoughts and feelings to a friend?

Quaint, isn't it?

You know, letters are what the post office originated for, and what the Pony Express riders risked life and limb for; what men and women would pay their small savings to send; what Roman emperors built roads across the whole of Europe for; and what your grandparents wrote when they were courting.

We seem to have lost all that.  Sure, more and quicker forms of communication have popped up (just remember, that's what the ancients thought when someone decided on papyrus and ink instead of carved stone tablets).  Still, there is something about receiving a handwritten letter that is completely unique, universally uplifting, and unquestionably cordial.

A note from a friend shows that they have taken a significant amount of time to sit down and write to you.  They have thought about their words; they desired to communicate with you and only you; and they spent just a little bit of money on a stamp so that they could send you their note.  Soon, their handwriting becomes as familiar as them and you can interpret if they were rushed, feeling down, under the weather, happy, hyper, etc., just from their penmanship.  When you receive a letter in the mail, it is exciting to see the return address, and that slight suspense before you can get the envelope open is just enough to be elating and cheerful!  How much more affection and friendship does that handwritten note show, as opposed to a Times New Roman black-on-white, sterile, public comment on your Facebook wall?

Think about it from the other focus.  I have to take time out of my busy schedule to sit down and catch up on my letters.  It takes time and forethought to write a letter - words scripted with pen and ink can't just be deleted via the backspace button, and white-out doesn't work very well.  I have to think about the words that I write, and write with care lest I be accidentally misinterpreted.  There's a feeling of love when I write to a friend, because I am thinking of them as I write.  When I'm done, and I seal it up and stamp it, then I put it in the mailbox and send it off on its adventure, another part of a conversation linking me and my friend, a thin clew through the maze of the world.

Sometimes you can say things in a letter that you couldn't say in person, but equally couldn't say via a text or email.  Every now and then, the time taken to craft a hand-written note of thanks or apology means far more than the words said out loud.  A letter can be a healing source of true communication when a friendship is on the rocks, when someone needs a bit of encouragement, or when a disagreement needs to be reconciled.  And let's not forget the love-letters every girl wished she could receive and learn to write!

I hope the art of letter-writing is saved and passed on to another generation.  It would be a pity to lose the gift of letters.

These rambling thoughts on letters are reminding me that I have about a dozen that need to be answered, sitting at home on my writing desk.  Now I feel guilty, so here is the end of my post!