I'm reading Susan Maushart's non-fiction book, The Winter of Our Disconnect, which I wrote about in my latest newsletter. This made me think of a recent conversation in which my husband and I recalled writing letters. Donï¿½t you just miss receiving a handwritten letter ï¿½ unfolding the paper, savoring page after page, and then reading it all over again? E-mail is just so different.
Many classic authors are famous for writing long letters that are almost literary works in their own right: Flaubert, Dickens, Twain, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Woolf. Reading their published correspondence, we see them as ordinary people, men and women who worked at their craft. It seems a shame that writers of our time wonï¿½t be leaving behind such richness of material.
What do you think?
Lane I agree letters are great and I miss them. I found in my last job, working at a Citizens Advice Bureau (free advice for the general public on issues such as consumer, debt, employment, housing etc) I got to write loads of PROPER letters - I really enjoyed them, and also the good responses I received! It was a revelation, as for years I had hardly written any letters. Whilst I don't do letters much I do try and send cards with more than just a quick greeting in them.
You are right that letters can say so much about peoople. I recently wrote an article about the Brontes for English Culture, and was interested to see how much letters that had survived had helped us create a picture of their lives and history.
Asha, when I posted the thread I'd just read an excerpt from one of Charlotte's letters where she describes "Ellis" and "Acton" sewing ï¿½ it's so charming. I also try to write cards and at least short notes when I can, but I find that I don't even know the snail-mail addresses of many of my friends. Shame on me.
I've just been to your site. I love Nigella ï¿½ and my husband, who is the cook in the house, absolutely adores her! Thank goodness for Saatchi, or else he might well run off to England one of these days
Lane Nigella is great isn't she? And she doesn't look her age - she is now 51.
I know what you mean about snail mail addresses. One of my failings is texting people to ask for the address if I want to send them a postcard/card/info then deleting the text and not recording the address in a permanent place. Over the years I have lived at a lot of places and often find friends who are good with address books have several addresses for me...
Good to hear you enjoying the Bronte letters. Their world was so different to the world we live in now.
It has been a long time since my last letter writing to my friend. I think letters is steel a good way to make contact with our friends.
When I was a kid I used to look forward to receiving letters. I still remember writing everyone I knew and looking forward to receiving something back in the mail. By the time I was an adult e-mails were already the norm. I have to say I miss receiving letters in the mail. It was a nice touch to my day when I went out to the mailbox and found something other than bills and junk mail filling my mailbox.
Letters - they are wonderful. People in the future will not have the treasure trove of paper letters filled with interesting bits of history. What happens to all this stuff online and in personal online mailboxes - short nonsensical sentences and forwards; little of substance?
I love the smell of paper, really. It's so fresh. But handwritten letters are a thing of the past. I have never got one in my life.
Writing letters can be very romantic. Where did that go?
I really do miss writing letters, i think with letters our writing skills improved and our thoughts flowed faster, faster than it does with personal emails, for me anyway! I still write on my journals in letter form as a matter of fact.
My dad used to always write me letters, and I used to write letters a lot more as well. An e-mail or FB post just does not have the same weight as a letter. I had to write one the other day to my girlfriend in Norway, and my hand HURT by the end of the 2nd page - guess I don't put pen to paper often enough these days!
I do miss writing letters and buying wonderful greeting cards to send to a friend. I have one friend that I write letters to, I also send her and another friend greeting cards which I make. Otherwise I send emails and egreetings and receive them as well; but I must say, there is nothing like receiving a letter in the mail. Letter writing seems to be a lost art.
I agree, letters have fallen away and it's a terrible shame. I still write letters all the time. When I was younger and struggled through life situations I wrote to an imaginary character that I created. I'd gotten the idea from Anne Frank.
I don't write to imaginary people anymore, but I do write letters to my boyfriend all the time. I think letters open up a piece of you that you will never be able to show over any form of instant messaging. Long-hand letters just have something different about them.
When I was in junior high school I remember we all had to have a pen pal. I believe the idea came from the Scholastic magazine the my teacher use to get. My pen pal lived in England, her name was Pam and we stayed in touch until she became a police officer or I got married(?) I can't recall why we stopped writing, but once in a while she pops in my mind. It is a fond memory.
I started writing lletters again. Been doing it about 6 months. You'd think I'd get letters back. They have all responded with e-mail. What a bust.
I miss it. I still love stationary, and note cards. I think it's charming to send someone a little note. Email and text don't have that quality. Unfortunately, most people don't feel the same.
I never stopped. I haven't written one in years but because I have nobody to write to, all my friend are people I never met on the internet (1 does not want for 1 weird reason to send me her address that i lost in a fire) and the family members I have are crazy so of course no contact there unless I have no choice.
yes I do. I still can remember how I waited for the letters from my grand parents and cousins who lived in other parts of the country.
I have letters from my grandparents which I treasure. It's a shame the next generation won't have those kinds of tangible memories. Having a folder of email isn't quite the same.