The Lost Art of Letter Writing
The Internet is full of letters that never get sent directly to the recipient for whom they were intended.
I’ve come across this a lot as someone who spends way too much of my time surfing the bytes and pieces of it all, and the peculiar thing about these letters is that, while the audience is wide and the message is clear, I’m often dumbfounded by the publicly published notes.
I saw the trend start with mommy bloggers. Many of them would pen (or is that key?) letters to their children and publish missives on their respective pages. These perfectly crafted notes were personal, full of wonderful sentiments and sweet pictures of their little ones. As beautiful as they were to read, these awfully personal notes were published for the entire world wide web to view. My very personal opinion on this matter is these sorts of letters should have been typed or written and put in a box so that they could be read by their children at a later date.
Then it got me thinking, whatever happened to the lost art of letter writing?
The irony is not lost on me, that here I am, Chief Technology Mom, purveyor of all things positively technological, a self-proclaimed gadget junky who makes a living on the Internet and yes, uses tech with my kids, and yet I am opining on this whole Internet-letter business.
I’m a bit technical, but I am also a fan of the classics.
It kind of goes back to the idea of over-sharing. We are constantly toeing the line over what we distribute in the ether, be it too personal or just personal enough, and we’re seeing our human interaction dwindle, as it is replaced by one on the computer screen.
Do these moms write letters to their children publicly because they truly feel it is something their audiences are meant to read? I am not here to judge. I am infinitely curious.
I wrote a letter to my son before he was born, and I published it as a note on Facebook. It had received a lot of comments, all positive, and then I thought to myself, wouldn’t this be better for his baby book? A special note from me just for him – for his eyes only. Of course it was too late, as it had already been viewed by many eyes that were not his (he hadn’t even graced the world with his presence yet) but it was special.
I still haven’t printed it for his baby book. I should get on that.
I suppose in my mind I had something special to say and maybe I was looking for feedback. Maybe I was okay with friends and family seeing it. I honestly don’t remember my drive, and I’m sure however why people choose to do it, it’s a perfectly good reason. But, as Chief Technology Mom, I’m offering up a challenge to all of you who are sitting there and reading this.
I want us all to take a few moments and, instead of updating our Facebook statuses or typing 140 characters or less on Twitter, go grab a pen. Grab a marker. Grab a crayon if you have to. A pencil will do, too. Get some paper – lined, construction, graph – it doesn’t matter, and write something to someone who means something to you.
Whether we write to a child, a family member, a long lost friend, it doesn’t matter. We should just write something that is meant as an exchange between us and that special someone.
I’d even go so far as to suggest that we don’t update Facebook announcing that we’ve just penned a fabulous letter. Just write it. Put it in a fun envelope. Decorate it with stickers or make a big kiss with some lipstick. Spray it with perfume. Insert a pressed flower, blade of grass or, wait a few weeks and get an autumn leaf as it has just fallen from a tree.
Or do none of that and just say “I love you!” on a Post-It for someone.
However you do it, do it because someone means something to you, and because we all need a reminder that not everyone needs to know how we feel about everyone else in our lives.
Today, let’s make it about that someone for the sake of that someone.
Tomorrow you can write a publicly published letter. Tomorrow you can update the world on what you ate or had to drink. Tomorrow we can all tell the world that we are just tired from a long day.
Today, let’s write a letter. And write that letter to one person only.
“More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”
― John Donne