Art of Personal Letters

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.

Walt Whitman

When I was growing up we were encouraged to have pen pals. In grammar school we were taught how to write the different styles of letters and we practiced regularly working on our penmanship and our creative writing skills.

I have almost every letter I have ever received. Last week going through some of them I came across one from my aunt, in the letter she relived my last visit in details I had long forgot. What a gift this letter was, twenty years later I can read it and remember how special the day was. She passed away about a year after the letter was written but in her words I can clearly hear her voice. My letters from my sister were filled with drawings and funny stories that I was missing since I moved away from home. As she grew up her handwriting changed as did her vocabulary.

Although I love technology and use email daily I think it would be wonderful if letter writing had a resurgence. Who doesn’t love to receive a hand-written letter? Part of the reason this semester was so special was because we mailed two chapbooks to the other members of our small group. This meant that I looked forward to getting the mail…tucked into the mailbox between the junk mail and the bills there was a connection with another writer.

One of my favorite postcards in my collection is the one pictured in this post. On the front “Pauline” has underlined my True Love so hard that is has worn away the gold tone. On the back addressed to Mr Fred Koppin Stewardson Illinois she writes “How about what I underlined? answer.

What a story! More so because the postcard was never mailed. I wonder if Pauline and Fred ended up as husband and wife. And because of the style of the postcard (a penny postcard) I know it was written in the early 1900’s. Quite a question for a Victorian woman to be asking.

Today, consider taking fifteen minutes and writing a personal letter…reconnect with someone, a family member, an old friend, a writing buddy. Now get back to work!

The Writing Letters Nag

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