A letter is never ill-timed; it never interrupts. Instead it waits for us to find the opportune minute, the quiet moment to savor the message. There is an element of timelessness about letter writing.
~ Lois Wyse
Do you write letters? Do you remember the last time you received a handwritten letter?
I have been sending letters to my friends for years. Now, that I am abroad and most of my friends and family cannot be in the same place as me anymore, letter writing became an important part of keeping friendships and contact alive in addition to messenger apps.
There are numerous kinds of informal letters. Thank You letters, Invitation letters, Love letters, condolence letters and not to forget the letters to Santa Claus. Letters have been written for hundreds of years. The first recorded handwritten letter was by the Persian Queen Atossa, 500 years b.C. Until the invention of the telegraph in the 19th century, it was the only way to communicate long-distance.
But what is so special about a letter in our digital world where we can easily write and receive a message within seconds? I will tell you.
Writing a letter takes time
Of course, the amount of time you take and need to write to someone varies whether you write a long or a short letter, whether you spent the time to decorate your letter or you prefer not to. If you want to tell something urgently, I would suggest using your phone instead.
But why am I telling you that if I intend to convince you on writing more letters? Well, imagine you receive a letter from a friend. You can be 100 percent sure that this person took at least half an hour of his or her time to dedicate to you. Yes, receiving a letter is a privilege. Maybe I should have named this reportage “the beauty of receiving a letter”. A privilege of having someone thinking of you and taking their time to sit down and write a letter.
A letter as a memory
Letters are memories. If you keep them, of course. You can reread a letter two months, one, five, or why not fifty years later and you will have the feeling of time-traveling to your past. Letters can help you if you are feeling unwell. Just take an old letter, read it and you remember that somebody thought of you. I barely believe that a lot of people scroll through their old chats on their phones to do the same.
Also if you are not a diary person (like me), it can be nice to write your feelings or just your experiences to somebody else instead.
Letter writing is not just writing a letter.
There is so much more you can do if you like. Why not send your best friend one of your favourite tea bags? Or a funny article out of the newspaper? If you enjoy drawing, you can transform a piece of paper into a little work of art. If you like journaling or lettering, why don’t you do the same with your letter? You ever wanted to own a typewriter but didn’t know what to do with it? Letters don’t have to be handwritten to be personal.
And what should I write?
EVERYTHING you would like someone to read. Are you doing a voluntary service in another country? I am sure you have a great deal to tell. You can write about old memories you have with this person “Do you remember when…?”, plans, feelings, politics, or just about your day.
So why should we continue writing letters?
Because it is a beautiful way of telling somebody that you are thinking of her/him.
We are living in a world where everything must happen as quickly as possible. We often forget to take time for ourselves, to slow down. Sitting down and writing a letter can be this quiet moment. Take your time and who knows, maybe you will find soon an answer in your letterbox :)
where I got some of my information from: