Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Lost Art

Years ago, a friend and I decided to be each other’s pen pals. We lived only two hours from each other but like all busy people we only would see each other if lucky a couple times per year. We both enjoyed writing and so through our letter writing our friendship remained strong and nurtured, when time wouldn’t allow for a visit. After years of doing this things fell by the wayside because I moved out State and halfway across the country.  Reestablishing in a new area was time consuming and my letter writing became less frequent. I simply did not have the time to write so email became my way of communication; which was later, followed by Facebook.
The details of my life and its happenings became distilled. As I started to fully understand the nature of Facebook less and less was offered to others.  It got to the point that even our status was not directed to one person as email had once been but to each and every soul that our friend’s friends had as well as our own. So we had no idea who was reading about our lives and at that point even our status became diluted.  
Then entered texting which replaced the lengthy need for a phone conversation and with it a new form of English that is mostly unrecognizable to people who are learning English or people who for whatever reason escaped that trap. A very close friend of mine is an English professor and she actually has to tell her class that they need to write in Standard American English to pass her class. I find this somewhat alarming that by the time her students reach the college level they have to be told this. That acronyms replacing actual terms or words are unacceptable in term or research papers, seems obvious to me. Don’t misunderstand me, I love the ability to send a quick text at times it is appropriate but in term papers, handwritten letters or business correspondence it most certainly is not.
The other day my friend sent me a twelve page handwritten letter. When I received this in the mail it was like someone had handed me a gold bar, a diamond ring or a beautiful work of art. The front of the letter was address to the lovely Kristen Haskell. Immediately, I smiled that someone close to me wrote those words. The envelope was special. It was made from handmade paper, with a soft velvety texture and even the stamp was special. It was the kind of stamp you have to go to the post office to get or buy a whole plate on-line. The thickness immediately made me giddy. I had to dump all my other mail, go find a nice spot with a nice coffee or in my case Ice Tea, settle in and read. You just know that it is going to be good.  It’s the kind of good that doesn’t happen often and when it does it is a treasure.
After the delight of reading my beautiful friend’s letter all I could do was respond in kind. Her letter was thoughtful and grand. It deserved a handwritten letter with as much love and thought as the one that I received.  So I sat down to plan my return letter and my first thought went to the stationery. I have some nice stationery but I wanted something a little different then what I had so I inserted a lovely piece of art work on the first page in the upper left corner, and then I printed this leaving the rest of the page blank. When that was finished I proceeded to write using my pilot varsity dark purple fountain pen. It felt so good to put pen to paper. The crisp white sheets compliment the dark gorgeous ink and the words just flowed with ease. Two days later I finished that letter and tomorrow I will be in search of a beautiful stamp.  It has probably been at least eight or nine year since I last wrote to my pen pal. I think it is high time to get back to a personal handwritten letter. Its meaningfulness is unparalleled.


Reflections said...

FABULOUS POST!!! A lost art indeed. Glad you received such a wonderful treasure to brighten your week.

Jinksy said...

I think I need to go away and write one myself! ♥

That gentleman's lady said...

I miss writing letters.

When my husband and I were seperated by the Atlantic, I used to write him two or three times a week atleast.

Writing a handwritten is a labour of love to me