Has letter writing become obsolete? Will it make a resurgence? Are there die hard fans still working in this medium?
Recently two Staff Nurse colleagues visited my house and spoke of ’End of Shift Notes’ changing from handwritten entries to electronic format. I retired at the right moment it seems. The nature of picking up the fountain pen at end of shift and writing the day/night information was a pleasure. The health/medical content of recording findings may not have always been joyful though! But the air of writing it down gave it the earnest nature of seriousness, sobriety and thoughtfulness. This new electronic recording factor started me thinking of the art of letter writing as expression between two people.
So. To continue re: letter writing. Obsolete? I sincerely hope not. And yet it is very rare to receive a handwritten letter in our house. The closest nowadays is maybe an small extended message in a Christmas Card. Historically. Myself and my wife have a shoebox of memories with many handwritten letters from various people. Albeit from the last century! Airmail from those who moved abroad or a different city/town and various pen friends from schooldays are specifically inherent and kept. Also love letters or poetry to each other. A historical perspective that, when read again, still produce broad beam smiles.
With my love for collecting fountain pens and using dip nibs too? I believe it would be exciting to give myself the opportunity to write and express and then to send it to someone who was close in my life.
What to write? Family and friends with social media are usually pretty aware of your current status. Is there anything to add to enhance the surprise factor? Maybe discuss chosen topics. Akin to a book club, gardening project, house design, hobbies, etc. Could an ongoing exchange of books read, films watched, favourite poetry or visits to galleries or museums, favourite places of interest visited for a break or holiday experience, places of interest be valid? And would another be interested in likewise picking up pen and paper and reply? Or one way letters to surprise and possibly change the dynamics of someone’s day?
If you are embarrassed by your writing then that becomes a self inflicted restriction. I am extremely self aware of how difficult it is to cross the bridge from self criticism to the freedom of expression and ’Don’t give a Damn’. My late brother wrote in his own unique style. Messy, yet imaginative. Not diagnosed with dysgraphia at that time. And reading his lyrics and poems from his little hand made books would require expert analysis. I call it ’Quirky’! Like Marc Bolan’s hand writing.
New technology having the abilities and choices of text auto correct, expressing through hundreds of emojis and the whole uniformity of chosen Fonts to text, emails and letters to companies, etc. are so entrenched in culture now. It’s robotic in some ways. Essential in others.
Scared of being seen as a hopeless letter writer? An answer is around the corner once you decide to pick up a pen, piece of paper and an envelope. Who knows what will end up on the page? If you don’t like the result then don’t post it. Simple.