Regretfully, no characters in these contemporary romances write personal letters.
In future stories, maybe I should make sure they do!
Here, I am considering personal letters, not business or formal communications. In today's time-poor society (or perceived as such) it's quicker and easier to phone, text, email or message. And there are times and situations where immediacy is essential.But isn't there something anticipatory about receiving a hand-addressed envelope? Open it, find a sheet of paper filled with handwriting - you know the writer has taken the time and effort to think of you.
Checking in my local newsagency I found several differently designed quality writing pads with matching envelopes, and boxed compendiums of attractive paper and envelopes. I asked the manager how the items sold. She told me that while the pads and envelopes on the whole were fairly slow sellers, those pads clearly designed for a child's use do sell, hopefully for the child to write thank you letters, and indicating that parents encourage children to write; others were bought mostly by women. The compendiums are popular especially close to Christmas, she assumes for gifts. And for writing thank you letters!
- reminisce on a good time you've had together
- someone you know, or sense, is in trouble, lonely, needs encouragement
- you've lost touch, want to repair a friendship
- forge a friendship with someone you know only casually
- take time to think things through, or apologise, clarifying comments that may be misunderstood in person or on the phone
- introduce a topic of mutual interest, leading to an epistolary conversation
- invite the recipient into the sender's world with descriptions of experiences, feelings, concerns
- recommend with details a book or movie
- with family, share thoughts and information which can be saved for future generations
Further to this, a nearby family is having a house built on previously vacant land. They are writing notes on their current lives to be dated, sealed in non-rusting container, and buried in what will become the garden. The seven-year-old wrote about his school; his four-year-old brother who could write his name dictated to the older child to write about his swimming lessons; for their two-year-old sister, Mr7 wrote her name, age and added kisses. Each parent will write notes to future parents.
Personalised and preferably handwritten letters are social currency with more of a human connection than is possible via technology. I believe such letter writing will not become redundant as long as we acknowledge a fundamental need to keep in touch on a deeper level.
As I cannot write personally to each of you, please imagine that I have handwritten (yes, you can read my writing!) on quality white writing paper using a blue pen, neatly folded into a matching envelope, a letter bringing all good wishes for 2020.
May the year be kind to you. And, of course, with lots of wonderful reading.