When was the last time you picked up a pen and wrote a letter? Nothing large, but more than what you would traditionally put on a pre-printed birthday card. A month? A year? More? Sadly, if you answered less than a year, you are in the minority. And that is a sad statement. I am writing this post using a computer, not pen and ink. There are a number of reasons for this, but despite how much care and feeling I put into the post, it will not likely echo from the screen. There will be no variation in line width, no variable height to the letter, no tactile feeling of the paper under your fingers. Your eyes will flick over the words, quickly, and move on to the next post, on the next web site. Unless I can hook you with my words, you will barely remember what I wrote by the time the next page loads.
Not so with a letter. Oh, you might not remember the exact content of it, but you might remember the condition of the envelop, or the colour of the ink. You might remember a passage when you see it laying in a drawer, or on a desk. But quickly the contents of the letter would come back. Shape of the letters would impart themselves, colour the words, and bring about a tone that the uniformity of a typewritten word can never convey. And yet, people are finding the convenience of sending an email, or a shorter text, the norm, rather than pouring their soul into a handwritten note.
But if you would like to change this, now is your chance. January 23rd is National Handwriting Day and if you are going to change your ways, this might be your incentive. If you are feeling very adventurous, Fahrney's Pens, here in DC, are having a little contest that might further spur your creative juices.
In either case, take the opportunity to set pen to paper and write a letter. Start small. A small note is a good way to start. Soon you will be sending letters everywhere. And discovering the joy of handwriting.
Thank you for reminding us about National Handwriting Day. I have a related project.
During 2013, as a part of a literary art project, I am composing one handwritten letter per day and mailing it to anybody who asks, free. Two of my goals are to bring handwriting back into the world, and to connect people in this all-but-lost way.
In less than three weeks — thank you, Internet — the Letter A Day project has reached 26 states in the U.S., plus Canada, Denmark, Australia, Finland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, India, Germany, Malaysia and South Africa. Requests are still tumbling in from territories all over, but there’s room for more. Should I end up with more than 365 requests by the end of the year, I’ll just keep going.
Each recipient gets an original, somewhat newsy, most likely meandering but sincere letter, such as he or she might once upon a time have gotten from a friend or relative.
If you or any of your friends … I hope you tell your readers, too … would like a letter, please visit my website (www.randyosborne.com) — where I am not trying to sell anything, as you’ll see, just keeping the requests in one place — and scroll to the “email me” button at the bottom of the page. Send me your postal address. That’s all you have to do. 🙂 And please spread the word.
There’s also a Facebook page, public to Facebook users:
Cheers, and thanks again.