Good old-fashioned letter-writing

I’m going to write a letter—a real letter. You know, the kind you write with actual paper and a pen. I haven’t written one of these in quite some time. Sure, I’ll often jot down short notes in birthday cards, or I’ll type out emails. But I can’t remember the last time I filled multiple pages of paper using a pen, then sent it off for someone else to read. I even bought some new stationery for this occasion.

My new stationery and trusty pen, waiting patiently for me.

If you’re wondering who the lucky recipient is (and I know you’re on the edge of your seat), I’m writing to my grandmother. The truth is, I probably wouldn’t write this letter if she had ever learned how to use email. But, despite my attempts to convince her to try it, it’s become clear that’s not going to happen. And because I’m not too crazy about telephone conversations, I decided mailing a note would be a good way to stay in touch between family gatherings.

I know I’m not the only who’s been thinking about letter-writing. Earlier this week, I heard people will gather this Sunday at Toronto’s First Post Office to write letters. This reminded me of something I read in the Toronto Star about the Post a Letter Social Activity Club. The club consists of a group of people who meet regularly to write letters and notes.

The fascination doesn’t seem to stop with writing letters, or even with receiving them. We also like to read ones addressed to people other than ourselves. Entire books of letters have been published. On Valentine’s Day, I read about the letters of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning going online. Instead of just reading transcriptions, the handwritten words can be viewed as Barrett or Browning would have seen them.

Maybe this interest in letter-writing is simply a matter of nostalgia. Or perhaps it shows that some forms of communication are forever relevant. In any case, I’m going to write this letter. I’m not sure yet what it will say, but I don’t think I’ll have a problem filling at least a few pages. This is why writing to your grandmother is a good choice—she’ll care to read every last word, no matter how much of it is drivel. I just hope she isn’t too critical of my penmanship.