Modern communication is comprised of hasty emails, Facebook posts, tweets, &c – brief (mostly) and passing almost as swiftly as thought (and often as poorly edited). Even voicemail is frowned upon these days (or so the Intertubes tell me – gods forbid one actually wants to speak when one can tweet is the reasoning, I suppose).
My belief structure is a kaleidoscopic, weirdly shifting morass, but one of the things I believe in is the power of the human hand setting implement to paper and consigning it to the postal service. I send thank you notes, sympathy notes, congratulatory missives, holiday greetings, and sundry random acts of writing every chance I get. It is my small line in the sand against the encroaching barbarism of modern life – a fist shaken in favour of form over function. Austen or Dickens might sniff at the paucity of my output, but they’re dead now, so it’s up to me (and my fellow scribblers) to do the best I can..
It probably also helps that notes scream in my interior ear until they are transcribed and despatched (a variant of the voices in my rice krispies telling me what to do, which is another essay altogether).
If our species survives and biographies are still being written I suspect we will be cursed for our disinclination to write on paper. There is a magic to actual writing –neurons fire differently and a different set of heartstrings is plucked when we write instead of type(science proves it, so it’s true!). There is also something wonderfully REAL about reading a note or letter in realtime and actual space which spits (politely, of course) in the face of the constant bombardment of image on screen, and when I see all the luscious stationery, cards and journals in shops these days, I have to believe that there are kindred spirits out there who share my predilection and also cherish the Cult of Paper.
A thank you – or, frankly, any communication in these latter days – conveyed in the material world carries a surprising weight. Aside from that, small courtesies improve the world in astonishing degrees. I think we would all be better for a few more random acts of epistolary kindness consigned to the mails.
And now there is an even greater – dare I say philanthropic? (sure, let’s!) – inducement to utilising the mails. The United States Postal Service is in trouble – beset, besieged and scorned by the oligarchs. One can strike a blow for the common man and the US Constitution by writing something, dammit, and handing it to a mail-carrier!
I love sending postcards and holiday cards, hmmmmm, off to save the post office.
In political circles, different forms of communication carry different weights: a signed pre-drafted petition is one voice in millions (still worth the effort though when compared to silence,) a voice message is not held too much higher, an email resounds as the voice of 10 -15 voices – yet the unique, hand-written, well crafted (or simply polite) letter is worth 1,000 voices. I suspect the notion is that if you bothered to craft and write out a letter, you really must mean what you are saying.
Sigh, if only they would continue teaching cursive hand in school rather than replacing it entirely with typing and block letter printing. Teach all!
I didn’t even address the death of cursive, which is its own sad story…
I will send you a “Viva La Revolucion” note post-haste! Ariba!
Thalassa, an epistolary thank you for you post.
I want you to imagine this thank you on textured Conquest writing paper, with a gentle cream tint. It has been written using a Cross ink pen, with a medium nib applying blue ink to the page. In the top, right-hand, corner there is my address (ending, of course, with ‘UK’), and at the bottom left are the words…
The P.S. says… By the way, I loved your post! 🙂
Thank you so much!
I always love your cards, and you inspire me to try and send some of my own.
Hear, hear! I will think on this as I write in my journal – pen to paper in composition book, of course. The joy of actual writing is the thought process preceding the commitment of pen to paper. Godspeed in your travels.
I love getting actual written letters in the mail. I used to write them often. Alas, I find myself typing them more. Perhaps I should go back to the old way, provided I have someone to write to.
On the subject of cursive – it is not dead yet. My 3rd grader has been learning how to write in cursive this year. It is lovely that she is learning it. Back when she saw my handwriting, but before she learned it herself, she called it “princess writing,” being the lover of all things (Disney) Princess.
Love your writing, my dear Thalassa. Thank you for dipping your toes into the blogosphere.