My snail mail, cute stationery, pen pal sent a letter in an envelope sealed with red wax and a tree impression. Retrieving it from the mailbox, I thought, wow, she made all this effort just for me. The seal is a special handmade touch. It declares, “Voila!” as I hold it in my hands.
Why a slow, old fashioned letter?
There’s something special about a personal paper missive, unlike electronic communication. The paper of the letter and envelope, the ink or graphite, the lines and slopes of each word imbued with the letter writer’s attention and intention: for a time, I thought only of communing with you. The smell of orange zest, clanging, cheering crowds, a deep ache. The writer sends a full-bodied memory to the recipient.
Marvelous! No wonder people like receiving letters. Why did we ever stop? The emotional charge is precious—more subtle than playing a video game, more personal than getting a magazine, more deliberate than social media.
A letter strikes the heart and can be carried around all day in anticipation or as a reminder.
A letter is a marker of someone else’s thoughts and emotions. An unfurling of consciousness or conscience.
Yes, a letter carries a word mechanic’s charge in both power and purpose. I understand now why we keep letters and analyze some. What were they thinking during that event? But the writings of loved ones, loving ones, are most cherished.
Letters change writers and receivers
Why not revive this wayside practice? Stop. Sit. Focus. Write. How would our day, our relationships, ourselves, change If we wrote letters regularly? Reflect. Review. Experience gratitude. All good things.
Who merits a letter?
- A sibling
- Anyone who has touched your life and whom you wish to acknowledge
What to write about
- Share an experience
- Ask for help with a problem
- Describe the effect of the recipient’s action or gift
- Send well wishes for a promotion, an award, a new venture, or a win
- Suggest a book or restaurant she might like
Pick someone. Get a blank card or notepaper. And begin. Don’t overthink it.
Painting by Ohara Koson. Image provided by rawpixel on flicker.com