is for Letters in the A to Z of Tools for Legacy
When was the last time you sat down and wrote a nice chatty letter to someone? Chances are that you may have sent a card or a note but that email, texts, or messaging via a social media platform have taken the place of letters in your personal communication toolkit.
The thing about not having a physical form is that the stacks of letters tied with a ribbon from an old boyfriend, or your childhood friend’s letters carefully stored in an old Amaretto box that were sent from far away when you both went off to different colleges your first year away from home, or the shoeboxes full of letters in a pen that you will always recognize as your mother’s handwriting – is that the tangible, touchable nature of letters captured more than just words.
Handwriting is so distinct, so unique, so reflective of the person, that much was lost when people began typing, and then word-processing, and now in communicating electronically. Handwriting conveys personality, mood, and yes, tears even smudge the ink of some letters. The beauty of penmanship is becoming a lost art. I’m not saying it is good or bad, but it does reflect a profound change.
Perhaps the process of waiting for a pen pal’s letter, or the birthday card from your grandmother, or the anticipation of getting a cool thing in the mail that you sent away for and had to wait weeks to receive added another temporal layer to the already distinctly physical nature of receiving letters.
For the more metaphysical folks, letters also carry a trace of the essence of the person who wrote them. Creation is a spiritual act, a potter shaping clay really is not so different from a writer creating a letter. A bit of the person is given to the page. At times an artifact, and letters can be artifacts, can seem to contain a palpable energy within them. They can certainly bring about emotion, and spur thoughts and actions. A stack of letters on a shelf from a friend who is no longer on the Earth can sometimes be felt as much as seen. Perhaps it is only a subliminal scent of the paper, or a knowing of location that cannot be entirely forgotten, but for those who love paper, is it really any more difficult to believe that words have essence?
We who lived in the time of paper will have to teach our grand children about all that it meant and conveyed to us.
Now, go write a letter to someone you care about.
Letter L Legacy of Letters Tools for Legacy projects