I got a delightful surprise in the post this morning, a handwritten letter from a good friend and it brought home something I have been thinking about over the last few weeks – the forgotten art of letter writing.
Leaving home as a teenager, when friends were the most important things in the world, letter writing was so vital for keeping in touch with the latest news and gossip. Remember this was the days before mobile phones and the internet. During this time I regularly received and wrote letters and postcards and would never have been without notepaper and stamps.
The handwritten letter is such a delight – from the moment it lands on your doormat the anticipation begins. First you would analyse the writing and check the postmark turning detective to see who it could be from. In days of regular correspondence I could recognise a friends handwriting in an instant. Next opening the letter, making a cuppa and settling down to find out all the goings-on. Reading a letter you can picture the author and hear their voice as they document the day-to-day happening in their lives, alongside snippets of news. Once read you pop it back in the envelope, and then you can go back to it, pick it up and dip in and out – it gives you a feeling of friendship and belonging, even when your friend is at the opposite end of the country.
In this so called age of communication I believe we have lost the finer art of communications. Text messages, instant messenger and emails all have a place, but they are an empty unemotional form of communication. The letter has a romance and a longevity. The writer has taken time over it and you in turn take time and pleasure absorbing it.