Months ago I reached out to my friends on social media and asked them to send me letters, since as an old practice I used to write letters to my best friends pretty often. It’s been years since I felt like I had the energy to do this in larger quantities, but the loneliness of the pandemic and my efforts to stay safe both encourage me to write letters and send them via the USPS. And despite its many flaws, the Postal Service does more good than harm, I truly do believe that. Of course I’m saying that having been obsessed with the Pony Express as a child, and loving the old USPS perv Chuck Bukowski, and my love of words… And sharing my opinion… Well, here we are.
All this being said it’s still effort to openly share one’s feelings in a raw and human way, but I am after just that, and I love receiving letters from my friends or even just acquaintances because it means I can get to know them in a far more intimate way than I would be able to via the Internet. I got to reply to four different letters from different people this morning, some just polite and sweet returns and some deep cuts of my feelings during the pandemic.
I appreciate the secrecy and privacy of a handwritten letter, also. It could be burned after it’s received, or thrown away, or accidentally eaten by a dog. All of these things would be fine, and good, if they happened, because the thoughts I shared in that letter were of the moment. And so the letter is of the moment, this representation of a place in time where I sat and thought about how I would converse with my friend in large, intimate chunks of emotional, descriptive text.
I could go on for a very long time about why I like letters, but I’ll pause after this last share before this “internet letter” becomes cumbersome even for myself. I love that you will likely never see your own words, writing, or mistakes again when you create a handwritten letter. It can really be anything, angry, sad, happy, joyful… So many feelings a letter can express, and once it’s down on the paper, it’s down. Once it’s sealed in the envelope and whisked away, there go your feelings into the ether, to your friend who will receive a small piece of you in the mail. They will be able to relive that moment in time I created when I made them a message. A once-in-a-lifetime message each time, received and sent.
So, letters have added a lot of meaning to my life. I think I often underestimate their impact. And I have really loved this letter writing revival I am experiencing!