Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Heart Letters

"I hoard all these letters like treasure. One day I hope to fasten them end to end in a half-mile streamer, to float in the wind like a banner raised to the glory of friendship. It will keep the vultures at bay."
~ Jean-Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I have a binder full of them. High school notes passed behind teachers' backs, scribbled on loose-leaf margins. Letters from friends struggling to keep in touch once they've moved away. Papers filled with symbols and drawings that can only be cracked with a secret code. Collective journals that chronicle our teenage years: the drama, the confusion, the unrequited crushes, how unfair life seemed at the time. It's all there. And flipping through the pages takes me back in time triggering a smile, a laugh, a sigh. The troubles we deemed Earth-shattering then seem so insignificant now.

Today there are no letters. No unexpected notes in my mailbox letting me know I'm in someone's thoughts. Instead, rushed e-mails with useless fwds, incomplete sentences and lols fill my inbox saying a whole lot of not much. Letter writing has been pushed to the wayside to make space for urgency and stress. It seems there's no time for it anymore; we "need" the message at the speed of light. It's like being asked "How are you?" and promptly left with your answer in mid-air.

But I will continue to write letters and shall hold on to mine as if they were gold; it is through them that I realize how wealthy I am in friends.



  1. Proper letter writing is an unfortunate victim in this world of modern technology. I read back over some of the letters written by my parents and grandparents and think about how this was their only form of communications most times. They couldn't just pick up the phone and call each other whenever they wanted. Weekly letters were the best they could do (or afford).

    I have an aunt that still sends out 2-3 typed letters each year, keeping me updated on that side of my family. I usually respond with my one token Christmas letter, but try to call her at least once during the year.

  2. Oh, I wish I had kept all my little notes and letters like that! I did have some letters in a shoebox, but my Grandma threw them away when I was 16, although she denies it (either that, or they just magically disappeared. I searched for them everywhere!). I think it was because she didn't like that they were from a guy I was in love with, but they weren't ALL from him.

    I love getting letters, too, but as it turns out, I make a terrible penpal.

  3. You're not the only one Lainey! I make a horrid pen pal. If I manage to do a snail mail, I have to type it all out as it hurts my hands to write long hand now-a-days. Top things all off, Im a perfectionist and end up re-writing things several times before I will even send them..

  4. I still have letters from my husband from when we were dating. Lol. I pull them out from time to time.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great day!

  5. Snail mail is a lost art...but one that I still practice even if I don't get any in return...I just love knowing that someone I care about gets to open up something fun, instead of a bill.

  6. I, too, am a big letter writer and find it really is a lost art, but oh so worth it. Maybe we should be penpals?;-)

  7. I'd love penpals! Tooj just offered to write one too and I'd totally send you snail mail, merc, to brighten up your day :)

    E-mail me (haha)!

  8. chicagolady, sometimes I wish phones didn't exist. Besides, years down the line letters remain whereas phone calls and emails disappear and get deleted. Then again I have this phone phobia and just don't like speaking out loud...which is why I'm a writer!

    lainey, oh boo I'm sorry you lost all of yours. I'm such a hoarder when it comes to those things (letters, cards, journals) because I swear my children will want these things when I'm 100 years old and too tired to talk about my childhood. Plus, I've always wished my own parents had such things I could look back on.

    ladystyx, oh my hands hurt too after a while, but I'm your exact opposite. To this day, I write out all my articles and stories (and even blog posts!) by hand because I think better that way. I like scratching words out and drawing arrows to rearrange paragraphs and you can't do that on screen. Also helps because I do most of my writing during my commute.

    But I am a perfectionist and had to force myself to stop throwing away so much paper every time I made a mistake.

    melanieshea, that's so cute!

    tooj, same here. I'd much rather use my stamps on letters than on the rent bill. My face lights up when I see I have mail and fades just as quickly when I realize that it's just Chase trying to woo me into some super duper platinum card or other. Boo.

  9. well written Dorkys! Letters are so romantic...romance has gone these days ;(

  10. What a great and well-written post!

    Letter writing is a lost art it seems. I try to write in my journal sometimes just so I remember what it's like to actually put my thoughts on paper.

  11. letter writing is a lost art - u still some one, hey i put up a short story, let me know what u think pls Bike Lady (10.8.08)

  12. aww I remember those letter-passing days.

  13. My mom kept all my "Dear Santa" letters. How sweet is that?

    Except I look at them now and I'm like, "What the heck mom?!" I didn't HALF of the stuff I asked for!

    And do you know why?...

    SHE KEPT THE LETTERS! Santa NEVER got them! I feel so cheated now. LOL!

  14. my side of the story, hi! That's hysterical!

    And thanks for dropping by (unless the wife o riley forgot to log out of this account again).


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