I still write letters. I don’t do it as often as I wish I did, but when I do write, I try not to skimp. For instance, when I write out my holiday cards, I include a hand-written letter to each person. I send a lot of cards, so this can take me a very long time. I try to set a pleasant mood: candles, tea, holiday music. I make it a ritual. I love beautiful papers, stationery, cards, ephemera — and sometimes I even make my own cards. It’s a very tactile, creative and meaningful experience for me.
A few of my dearest friends also write letters. We know we are a dying breed, but still we persevere. I have a cherished stash of letters from these special friends. I can pick one up and literally feel touched by that friendship in a very physical way. Emails and text messages have their own special place in my friendships, but I hope I will always manage to write long-hand, at least some of the time. If letters (and journals) go completely away, I wonder how our historical record will survive? Technology changes so swiftly, but writing instruments and paper have managed to remain even when civilizations have been long gone.
But I digress. Very few people write anything in their cards back to me except for a one line greeting, but I don’t take it personally because I know how much time it takes to write a letter. I do know they all look forward to my letters. They tell me so, and it makes me feel deeply connected to them when I write those letters. So I keep it up each year. I love seeing an envelope in the mail with handwriting I recognize. I think everyone does. It makes me sad to imagine a future where we don’t ever see our loved ones’ handwriting. Or has that day arrived already, and I am oblivious?