Hey guys! This week I’ve been having a bit of a clear out in my Gypsy Van (thanks to my friend Bryony for coming up with that amazing new name for my home!). In particular I’ve been going through my box of letters that I’ve kept over the years. It got me thinking about why I love hand written letters, and what it is about them that makes me love them so much.
Everything these days is so instant; Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, it’s all designed to keep us in touch with each other in a split second. Sharing information and getting to know each other has never been so quick and easy, but in the process of making it like that, I feel like we’ve lost something really special in written communication.
I’ve had a few proper pen pals over the years. Most notably my oldest friend and I used to write huge long letters to each other instead of phoning or Facebook messaging. It was our way of paying homage to our childhood days of watching Jane Austen TV adaptations. My other long term pen pal was my great uncle Arthur, who passed away 2 years ago on the 20th April. We wrote to each other so regularly for a good number of years that most of this box I have is stuffed full of his letters, in his beautiful traditional handwriting (as per the above picture). When he passed away, I instantly knew I would miss having those letters come through the door every few weeks, and surely enough I have missed them a great deal.
The one thing that electronic communication doesn’t have is that personal touch. The sense of effort and thought that comes with a beautifully written letter. The idea that someone cares enough about you to sit down and think about what they want to share with you this time, is something I just don’t see in instant messaging, texting, email or any other form of electronic communication.
I live my entire life on the Internet – all my friendships are based on the swapping of memes or conversations that simply start with a “Hey, how’s you?” kind of deal. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing, but it’s just not the same. I would love for someone to sit down and think “what shall I tell Liv this time?” and to write anything they want, in their own handwriting, intended for me to read and respond to when I take my turn to sit down and compose my own letter in my own illegible scrawl.
Snail mail is a rather old fashioned, dare I say, romantic notion. But that’s what makes it so personal and so lovely to see those envelopes on the doormat after a rubbish day. The feeling you get when you can open a new letter and read new words about new things or people, just cannot be beaten by social media or instant messaging. The trouble people like me have these days is finding someone who has the patience and the consistency to not only write a handwritten letter, but also to decipher my letters back. To all my past pen pals, and any potential future ones – I apologise so much for the awful experience that is my handwriting! I really do try to make it legible, I promise!