I love the written word and of course, what author doesn’t? That is what we do–write. It’s clearly our joy and at times, our job. We record the signs of our times—our families; all the events that make us smile, all the tragedies that bring us to our knees, emails or Facebook with friends, editorials, and last but not least, support for issues that stir us into action.
But here’s the thing. Let me start with Christmas cards. Once upon a time I hung them on our living room doorsill. They ran up one side and down the other and consistently included a few lines to say hello, here we are in life now. My favorite were the letters that reviewed the year for the family, pictures included as an extra bonus. I didn’t realize then it would be the word inked in one’s handwriting that I took for granted. At that time, fifteen to twenty years ago, the cards started whittling down; this year receiving five. However, this year and the past, I still flip through my address book, sending twenty at least. I just can’t give up the tradition, the handwriting them. Could it be because I dread seeing this personal connection fade or is it simply because I am a writer and love personal writing? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s both.
What I do know is I miss grabbing a personal envelope out of the mailbox, often irritatingly hidden by unwanted advertising cards. I happily read the return address, then walk past a few houses to my home. Sometimes I wait a few hours before I sit down to read it in a quiet place. I do the same with great books—read them slowly. I’ve never read a book at one sitting. It’s like a peanut butter cup, something to be savored. I read a few pages or a chapter at bedtime. A card or letter is the same and deserves quiet and thoughtfulness.
I know, I know, using emails, Facebook and others expand our world and take much less time to relay messages. Don’t get me wrong, I use them too—a lot. We all can type a few lines, maybe more and the message will speed anywhere quickly. However, I still write letters or fill a card with news. Luckily, I have two longtime friends who do the same and I love it. We don’t write weekly or anything, but when I do hear from them through handwritten communication, I’m delighted. I just don’t want to give up that written word to communicate. Like I said, maybe it’s the writer in me.