The lost art of letter writing

Been a while since I have posted. Does not seem to be much to say. I have been working out regular, did 40 minutes at a 15 percent incline at 17 minutes per mile and felt good. The Plantar Fascia on the left foot has been an issue, but I have been there before and will get through it. I have not stepped on a scale since the last post, I am going to wait at least four (4) weeks and continue to focus on balanced eating and working out consistently. But tonight, I decided to post this brief update and tell you of another interesting situation I discovered.

Recently, I watched a few old movies. I love old movies. Well, depends on what we think is old. I am talking about those from the 40’s and 50’s. Recently, I watched “love letters” – made me think of the many movies that contained letters to those fighting a war to and from friends and family. Made me think of the letters Gump wrote Jenny in that movie…

Although Love Letters was about much more than writing letters, it got me to thinking about what has become a lost art, letter writing, with a pen and paper. I think the art of letter writing has become an extinct part of communication.

There was a time when writing letters was the only means of communicating over long distances. In today’s world, we can pick up a phone and speak to anyone anywhere in a second or two. I even thought about my diary. It went electronic over a decade ago? I went to get an old diary. My clarity in the words on paper changes with my emotions. My little drawings and emphasis that only can come from a pen showed.

So tonight, I decided to try to see if I even had that long lost skill. I failed! Spelling, grammar, and readability went out the window. So I picked up my laptop and started to type a letter I would them write. But that is stupid is all I thought…

I thought… What is it about a letter that once had so much appeal? I think about the letters that were such a part of my favorite sitcoms (M.A.S.H.) I saw an episode where Trapper talked to his wife on the phone. They finished with “I Love You” and it was short lived. Then there was another episode where she sent him a letter about the love she had for him. It lasted the entire show. Not only that, I remembered it in the next episode…

Yes, reading something in a letter, knowing someone took the time to write it, makes it much more meaningful. It is permanent. And even if, at some time in the future, they take those words back, you still have a permanent record of it.

I know that is true with an e-mail or text, but there is a flare to the curves in the letters on the paper are part of an individual uniqueness as a person. It is unique in appearance and memorable when you see it again and again. It is just hard to explain but there is so much more a precious meaning to a well written (with a pen) letter… I think of the days I got Christmas letters; you could see the joy in the style. In as much, you could see tear drops on those sad letters. Get that in a text or e-mail, never…

My failed effort to write a letter (with a pen) struck me in a strange way. I began to wonder if I know me sometimes. It reminded me of many others times when I thought I had no clue who I am or where is my place in this world. Then it reminds me of what my Political Science said to me when I was struggling academically and personally. He said:

“All we do in life is a journey and taking the next step is the most important part of any journey.”

What is exciting about taking those steps over the past 48 years is I met people who are in the same place, at the same time in their lives yet we got there in completely different ways. Then we take another step in perfect sync with one another yet it seems like it never fails, we go on to a completely different place.

Strange… So I will close with me taking a second effort to write a letter… before I just quit… Give it a try… It sure made me think about me, my past and some of the simple things I cherish!

Carry on…

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “The lost art of letter writing

  1. SteveQ

    I know someone else who just blogged about the very same thing. She reminded me that I used to be a great letter writer; old girlfriends kept my letters and still show them to their husbands as examples of what romance is.Then they ask if I want them back…

  2. Helen

    Neat post Londell. I have not written a letter in about 3 years or more. When I lived in Japan around 200 I used to write letters home every week! But even then I think by the end of my time there I had transferred to typing them on the computer. I should try again… that's a great idea! I love how seemingly simple things like this lead us to think about so much more.Helen

  3. Beth

    I used to write letters in college, but no more. What I miss most is the personality that comes through in the handwriting, choice of pen and paper. I'll have to give it a try. A Valentine's letter would be a nice gift.

  4. Karen G

    In some stuff of my mothers I found a lettr my father wrote to her. It was from some time in the '50s. He was in Washington D.C for some farmers union trip. I was amazed by it. He had died when I was 19 and it felt so personal even though he was just talking about average things he was seeing and doing. It made me feel so close to him. People should write.

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