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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bring Back The Handwritten Letter

I've always loved letters.

When I was about 13 my neighbors nieces came to visit, and after they left I asked for Jewel's address, which began a few years of pen pal correspondence. While it sometimes took me a week or two to write back, I loved to sit down at my desk and write out a letter about my life, and learning about someone who lived a totally different experience than I did.

Well, when I moved away from Kentucky last year, in addition to text messages, social media, and phone calls, I fell back to letter writing. To me, there is just something so personal and romantic about sitting down and penning a letter to a dear friend.

And this past week I found a letter waiting for me, just simple words written on plain notebook paper, and that piece of paper brought so much joy to my soul. There is something refreshing about knowing that you weren't simply a keystroke hitting the enter key, you were purposefully found time to write, seal, and send something.

It probably also falls into my love of real books: I can't seem to get into reading books on a Kindle and only in the last year or so got into audiobooks, because there is just something to be said for the physical presence of a book. It's one reason that I carry a larger purse: small purses just can't handle the book life.

And this love of paper (environmentally unfriendly as it may be), is something that I do want to pass on. I've read books to Jace every night before bed since he was too tiny to understand words. And now, I am teaching him to write letters. Since he knows his alphabet, it seemed like a perfect time, and he has a couple amazing pen pals that are happy to get his colorings and writings.


And I'd like to offer it as a challenge. Take some time and write someone a letter. Write to your grandparents, to your parents, to an old friend, to someone going through a tough time, to a little kid whose parent will have to read your letter to them. Know that you're bringing a little bit of yourself to someone's doorstep, and slip back into the days when we didn't instantly know what happened in everyone's life because it was instantaneously on twitter. Enjoy some pretty stationary that has been stashed away unused, and see if you don't love bringing back handwritten letters too.