The lost art of letter writing
Dear Creative Souls,
Yesterday, while waiting in the reception area of the local hospital, where my niece was going through a minor procedure, I felt the urge to write to you. Not just any writing but deep, meaningful, connecting kind of writing. I pondered how to do that. For a long time now, I have been trying to figure out ways to communicate with you on a personal level. One to one, you see.
I don’t seem to be achieving that through blog posts. At least I don’t feel that. Blog posts with their ‘scannable’ nature sometimes sound distant and preachy. As if there is a thin curtain between the writer and reader.
I want to be able to talk to you like I talk to my friends over a cup of coffee.
I would love to have a cup of coffee with you.
Chances of happening that are slim. Not impossible, but slim.
This constraint reminded me of the longing I felt for my family when I migrated to Australia thirty-plus years ago. In those days there was no mobile phone, or skype and the landlines were outrageously expensive. My only way to stay connected with my family was letters. I used to write long, extra-long letters, by hand.
I loved writing those letters. Pouring my heart out to my mother as a newlywed would. Describing the new landscape and history of my adopted country to my father and father-in-law. Bonding with my sisters-in-law through separate notes.
What I loved more than writing letters was receiving them. Those striped edge envelopes with lots of stamps containing neatly folded lined paper with its unique smell. The anticipation of its content. The stories of food, festivals, neighbors, weather. Somehow, even mundane things would sound special. Those who wrote back regularly hold a special place in my heart forever. They gave me a gift which can’t be paralleled. They comforted me through the loneliness of the initial years.
This is how I want to communicate with you. By writing letters. Providing you comfort and support through your creative journey. As your companion. As someone who fights fear on a daily basis.
Speaking of fear, as my creativity was flowing, and I was coming with these ideas of writing all these letters, FEAR popped its head and reprimanded me.
Hold your horses. Just think about what you are going to do. Writing personal letters to your readers? What a dangerous idea. That will expose you on the net. You have any idea how vulnerable it will make you. People will know your deepest desires, your failures, your agonies, your anxiety. Do you really want to announce all those things. Don’t forget you are an introvert. Introvert don’t live their lives out in the open.
That’s what I did.
That silenced him.
I hadn’t written a letter to anyone for decades now. It still feels great. Writing letters builds relationships, brings clarity and provides comfort. It not only warms the heart of the recipient but also of the writer.
I urge you to write a letter today. To someone. Anyone. Write to your children and leave it in their lunch box. Or your husband and place it in his briefcase. Or a long lost friend you recently found on Facebook. Tell them you were thinking of them. Tell them you were remembering the times both of you have spent together.
Or write a letter to your fears and see how much clarity and mutual understanding it brings.