I grew up writing letters. It was more than protocol, it was a family tradition connecting us to relatives and friends across the continent. I vividly remember grappling with "of" (uve, uhv, uuuhf?) once while gleefully hammering out a typewriter letter to my grandmother.
Today, writing letters (and yes, emails) maintains bonds stretched even further, aaaallll the way out to eastern Canada where we now live. Tokens of nothingness, missives about loneliness and language frustrations, celebrations about summer harvests and cultural discoveries - all scrawled across sheets of honest-to-goodness tangible paper - have traversed the continent for the past two years.
But out of touch?
You've heard it before, you have probably thought it yourself. There is something intrinsically g o o d about a real live letter. It's not the same as an email.
I'm not talking about the bills and junk mail, not the weekly coupons for grocery stores where you never go. I mean the real letters, the ones with handwritten addresses, stamps stuck on crooked, envelopes bent or smudged on the way to the mail.
It matters, knowing someone's hands touched it. Someone's elbow grease pushed the pen across the page. Someone picked out the postcard, pen, and paper - perhaps in haste, perhaps with utmost deliberation.
Someone licked that envelope. Their dried saliva is rubbing off on your fingers.
That is in touch.
That is precisely why I signed up for InCoWriMo - International Correspondence Writing Month. Instead of Valentines, this year I am sending vintage postcards scrounged up in local second hand stores. If you leave your mailing address in the comments, and promise to write back, you're guaranteed a letter this month.
Here's an excerpt for the newspaper article I wrote about it last week:
"The objective is to write at least one letter each day, or a total of 28 letters during the month. Letters must be postmarked or delivered in February; delivery by hand or Canada Post qualify. All letters must be handwritten, but there is no minimum length – a postcard or an opus both fit the criteria." Click here to read the whole (brief) article.It's not too late - just double up on your letters for a few days to get back on track.
|A postcard per day, for the month = ~1 cm. |
Pro tip: Vintage postcards at second-hand stores are
likely to be less expensive than at antique stores.
Apparently, even the British Queen is participating. You can writer her at:
Her Majesty The Queen, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom.
Do you still send handwritten letters?
What do you think I should write about, if I write the Queen?