November 16, 2014

Letters are an Art Form, Create! Create!

image for erin connery letter post

Let’s clarify that I am in no way a skilled or graceful letter-writer. Or anything-writer, for that matter.

What I do have going for me, is that I love and appreciate a handwritten piece of mail.

Unfortunately, every day there are fewer and fewer members in the letter-writing fan club. In America, the Postal Service is at risk of extinction. Sad, eh? The logic seems to be: We have social media galore, who wants mail?

Well, I do.

When you send me a letter, I know you made an effort to take time out of your life to express something real to me. And for that I thank you!

As I find myself beginning to change addresses more regularly, I’ve started to notice how rare a letter-writer is. If we don’t have time in our lives to sit, enjoy a cup of tea, light a candle, and write to someone we love, we’re doing something wrong.

Is there anything better than finding something unexpected in your mailbox?

To my fellow spring chickens, patience is a virtue. Seriously, we expect instant gratification, our every desire granted in rapid succession to our request. I’m no exception. I’m still learning to work hard for something I want, and that sometimes means months and years, not days or minutes.

Is there any better practice in the art of patience than letter-writing?

Letters are works of art—what’s more is they don’t discriminate artistic ability. So, for those of you who hold your toothbrush more gracefully than a paintbrush, here’s your shot. Let those creative juices flow!

While my parents were dating, they spent more than a year thousands of miles apart—my mom on the east coast, my dad in the Alaskan wilderness. They were only able to make one long-distance phone call every two weeks, so they wrote letters in-between. What’s more is that they were a fairly new couple.

They’re approaching 30 years of marriage, and are, to this day, each other’s best friend.

I spent a good part of last year in a long-distance relationship, something that is becoming far more common in younger generations. I glowed whenever I got a letter from him. We talked every day in some form or another, but a letter? It was like being able to reach out and touch him. I could hear him speaking to me and picture him writing to me as I read. Our relationship grew and changed, despite setbacks, and it was beautiful.

For the rest of my life, I can remember how these relationships were shaped, by reading through the letters we shared.

This also goes for anyone not in a long-distance relationship—you wanna amp up the romance? Make a friend smile? Leave a note! It really does do the trick. My mom still has notes my dad left her taped to the inside of the bathroom mirror at my childhood home.

It’s a practical thing too: I remember around 2010 and 2011, reports starting being published in the news about the cuts to the Postal Service and similar mail-transport facilities. There was and still is discussion of cutting Saturday delivery, and I know anyone who has sent anything by snail-mail (which is actually really fast when you consider how far that mail goes) has noticed a substantial increase in the cost to do so.

Yet at the same time, our country was and still is struggling with recovery from the 2008 recession and subsequent unemployment levels. The stronger we make the Postal Service, the more jobs we keep available. Win-win.

So go get your pens and write to someone you love. Write to someone you want to love. Write to someone you need to thank. It doesn’t matter who you write to, just write a letter. Let’s be the generation that forms relationships through the genuine communication of letters, and preserve the Postal Service while we’re at it!



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Author: Erin Connery

Editor: Emma Ruffin

Photo: courtesy of the author 


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