A similar feeling occurred when I was sorting through family documents to attempt to compile some sort of family tree. I came across a love letter written by my Great-Great-Uncle Laurence, and the instant feeling came as though he was in the room and that he was part of my family, rather than some distant ancestor I could never meet. Letters tell a story far greater than the words within them. The material artefact has a poetic element itself, and it is a shame to think my Great-Great-Niece may never discover a letter written in my hand in some battered old suitcase in a loft full of family treasures.
Although handwritten letters are virtually extinct from our society, children are still encouraged to send their letters of Christmas requests to good old Saint Nicholas. That man is the most magical of all, and he can travel around the whole world in one night, yet he still understands the importance of writing a letter rather than sending him an email. Can you honestly imagine the preposterousness of that? The time and effort of putting pen to paper, and doing it in your best handwriting possible, just exudes love. The only letters that still pop through my letterbox from time to time usually come in the form of postcards from exotic places that seem to just be friends rubbing it in your face that you’re not where they are, rather than them actually ‘wishing you were here’.
Yet the long lost romance of sending a letter is not dead yet. Come on people, pick up your pens and get some textured paper, pretty envelopes and those wonderful majestic stamps. Write to a secret lover and give it a spritz of your own perfume/aftershave, thank someone from the heart by writing it on a page, or just make someone smile by saying hello. Go on, rebel against technology for just one day, and if it’s the trees you’re worried about, they now make recycled paper.
Yours sincerely and forever,