Is the letter dead?

Do you write letters anymore?  I mean honest-to-goodness letters on paper, that you put into an envelope and send children-r12with a stamp?

I’ve been thinking about this lately, because  I’m reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. As many of you know, it’s a novel told in letters.  (It’s also UTTERLY delightful, and I recommend reading it, even though it took me about a week to learn the title.)

Unlike the charming characters in the book, most of my communication these days takes place by email.    I write letters by hands less and less frequently these days.  Usually, when I do, they are either 1) thank -you notes or 2) epistles to my friend in Paris.  Those missives are pretty infrequent, though, which is totally my fault; it takes a certain amount of energy for me to scour off my rusty French and write her.

But I love it when I get a letter in the mail.  It’s so tangible and timeless.  It makes me feel special, as if the person sending it feels I am worthy of the effort involved in finding stationery, looking up my address, and affixing a stamp.  It IS different from electronic communication, in lots of ways.  Gosh, there’s so much more to say about this.  I think I feel an article coming on.

But I’m curious about your written communication habits, too.  Do you write letters anymore?  If not, why not?  And do you ever miss them?

9 responses to “Is the letter dead?

  1. I am proud to say I am a letter writer! I love writing cards, notes and letters with all kinds of friends….I have a few nuns in monasteries I write to in Lourdes, which I love. There is just something about the entire process I fall in love with. And then the art of finding a great card or stationary, or addressing to…THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND SPIRITED GINNY! You can make someone feel so special, timeless.

    My greatest fear is that the schools are going all computers in class and kids are losing the art of writing today….

  2. I absolutely love writing letters. For years, I made homemade notecards to write my words on. I don’t make the cards anymore, but I do send out lots of handwritten letters and thank you cards, most recently to Archbishop Dolan (my hero!).

    On the down side, it’s rare that I ever get one myself. I think the lure of instant electronic communication will be the downfall of the handwritten note. 🙁

  3. Andrea, as someone who has received your lovely letters and cards, I say: Keep Writing! Please!

  4. Because I rely on e-mail a lot, I only write notes for sympathy, congratulations, and birthday wishes. I do however write letters to my boys and Pete sometimes. I find that writing on a real piece of paper and placing it in an envelope signifies a sincere desire to speak my truth and clues them in to my need to say something important. (Often just how much I love them and sometimes its a heartfelt apology.) Especially with teenage boys, I have found that writing allows for truth telling that is delivered in a safe way. I have never regretted what I’ve written, while I have been sorry with things I’ve said. I took the Catholic Charisms Discernment Inventory and one of my gifts was writing. One of the tests of your possession of a charism is whether or not it gives you life, and for me writing does. I know other people who labor and sweat over a simple thank you note. So, I feel for them. But, for me, often it is joy. Interesting question Ginny! I’m inspired to put pen to paper all over again… thanks for reminding me!

  5. Anne, how fabulous that you made homemade notecards. I wish I were that crafty! (the good kind of crafty, that is). And I share your worry about the negative impact of technology on communication.

    And I’m very aware of the irony that I am writing that statement on my BLOG. 🙂

    Ooh, Katie, as the mother of two little boys, I will take your tip to heart. I can see how adolescent males may find it easier to hear “I love you” in writing and not in person. Did you take the Called and Gifted Workshop, too? That workshop literally changed my life …

  6. I had to add after someone mentioned….every year I write a letter to my kids on their birthday, I put them away for them when they are older. I make my husband do it too, so they will have that personal note from us in our own writing…it seems so intimate a moment.

  7. I love had written letters! My husband and I write letters to each other once a month… keep them in a special little box… then read them on New Year’s Day. So special!

  8. I write letters, and I have a few boxes of the letters friends sent back from different places around the world. I write letters because my Grandmother used to send me letters up until her handwriting was almost criptic. I loved them and still love the letters she sent.

  9. I’m with you … I have boxes of letters that folks have sent me. They are too hard to part with. It’s kind of like having a piece of them with me.