The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The lost art of letter writing

I was rummaging through one of my rarely-used craft drawers the other day and came across an old, dog-eared cardboard file. I smiled as I lifted it out of the drawer because I had not forgotten what was in it: notepaper. But it wasn't just any notepaper. Back when I was in school, it was the 'in' thing to do to buy a pad of decorated notepaper and then exchange sheets with friends. Some designs, like Holly Hobbie and Betsey Clark, were especially coveted and what was even more special about these notepapers is that we actually used them. To write letters. To real people. Isn't it amazing how things change? Apart from Christmas cards and the occasional 'thank you' card, I cannot remember the last time I wrote a letter to anyone. It is sad that we are constantly in contact via social media but not really connected.

Maybe it was fate or simply just one of those coincidences, but shortly after I discovered my old notepaper I stumbled across two wonderful blogs dedicated to snail-mail: Naomi Loves by Naomi Bulger and Letters of Note by Shaun Usher. Naomi Bulger, the author of Naomi Loves, creates the prettiest  mail art and sends it to anyone who stops by her blog and requests a letter. Her husband recently gifted her 1000 vintage postcards and she has pledged to send one to any reader who would like to receive one. I thought it was a splendid idea and signed up to The Thousand Postcard Project.

Just a couple of weeks after discovering Naomi Loves, I somehow ended up on Letters of Note where author Shaun Usher is collecting and reproducing letters written by prominent people from the 16th century to the present day. I have to admit that I was immediately hooked. The beautiful sentiments expressed in some of these letters made me wish that people are still writing to each other in such an eloquent and, often heartfelt, way. I am sharing extracts from some of my favourites (and there were so many beautiful ones that it was really, really hard to narrow them down to so few) with you.

 

From Roald Dahl to a seven-year old fan who sent him a painting of one of her dreams contained in a bottle:

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From Johnny Cash to his beloved June:

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From Ludwig van Beethoven to a woman known only as his Immortal Beloved:

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From Henry Miller to Anais Nin shortly after the start of their affair in 1932:

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From Leonard Cohen to his  muse Marianne Ihlen who was dying of leukemia, written just a few months before his own death:

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What do you think? Now I will admit that we don't all have the gift of flowery prose and some of us will cringe at the thought of expressing ourselves so openly and with so much passion, but don't you wish we could, at least, revive the art of letter writing?

So I wanted to ask whether any of you would be interested in receiving a letter or a note or even just a postcard from me. I would be extremely happy to send out some snail-mail and would be delighted if you would reciprocate. So I am channeling Naomi and also Jeanne (from Collage of Life) and taking the plunge. If you would like to receive anything from me, drop me an email (technology does have its uses) at: stories(dot)scribbles(at)gmail(dot)com

Let's see whether we can slowly bring back this beautiful form of communication that has existed for hundreds of years and that, in just a couple of decades, has almost completely died out.

 

If you feel inclined to find a pan-pal, here are some useful links:

16 comments:

  1. What a neat idea Lorna...........I, to miss the art of letter writing. Somewhere in this house, there's a box with several packets of love letters between your father-in-law and I. Our "courting" days. Surely in one of them, there might be some worthy prose..:)

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    1. That's so nice that you still have them all. Darin and I wrote to each other every day and we had both printed some of the emails but it became too cumbersome to keep them all. SO now they are on some server somewhere. I wish we had real letters as I think it's so much fun to go back and read them.

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  2. My husband and I had written letters from before we were married , cards , letters too. Unfortunately 26 years later we are getting divorced , sad I know , long story might tell you one day .. I hope this comment works .. one more try. :-)

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    1. Sorry to hear that Anne.

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    2. Sad but finding new friends helps 😊 and starting new hobbies. My heart still hurts sometimes ..I will get there .

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  3. I love this idea! (Might channel this too on my blog) I actually still write letters to my pen friends (been writing to a few of them since I was 12 yrs old). Writing letters is my favorite hobby. Although I do wish I have the gift of flowery words too. Will be dropping you a note before I go to bed tonight :).

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    1. That's wonderful to have had a pen pal for so long.

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  4. That one from Leonard Coen ... trying not to bawl! It's true that my biggest influx and out flux (?) is at Christmas. And I've been sending postcards of late to my representatives in DC. Oy, it's insane here ...
    But not too many letters. I have friends and family who are great about thank you notes though, and I just received a very sweet note from my friend's daughter that had me crying. There is definitely something special about a handwritten note!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Yes I think it was my favourite one together with the one by Ronald Dahl.

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  5. p.s. i LOVED Betsy Clark!!!!

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  6. I have always loved to write letters, but never by hand, because I found handwriting so slow, my thoughts went quicker. So I already used the typewriter, except for postcards of course. Then when I discovered the computer in 2005 I was so happy and now everything goes per computer of course. No Christmas, birthday, Easter etc cards in paper, but virtual. I think I am born a generation too early !! I also love to create special cards and play around with my pictures !

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  7. I am totally the opposite. I type so slowly that I get distracted so I have to write out my blog posts on paper as I find it works better for me. I guess u belong to some past generation :)

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  8. Dear Loree what great excerpts from old letters. The last one tugs on my heart and touches a tender place. If you would so choose to drop me a note I would love responding. Have always enjoyed getting a hand written note. In the meantime friend have a blessed Easter. Hugs!

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    1. Of course, Debbie. I would love to send you a hand written note or card.

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  9. What a beautiful series of letters - great post Loree. These days if I get a letter it's usually from someone of an older generation. All things go around, and I imagine younger folks will bring back this lost art in time :))

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