Letters in the Mail

My wife got a letter in the mail today. Like, a hand-written, pen and paper, genuine letter. I sat back in my chair as she cheerily tore into it and devoured its contents. Then she said something curious, “letters in the mail are so much better because you only have so much space so you have to convey your words with precision and meaning.” Ok, she didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s what she meant.

If you’re reading this post and you’ve met me there’s roughly a 50% chance you’ve received a note or letter from me in the mail. It would have been in all capital letters (somebody forgot to turn my internal caps lock off as a kid) and I likely would have jammed my name in the bottom right corner because I hate being confined by finite white space.

Jen’s probably right though, brief is always better than rambling (kind of makes this post ironic, huh?).

Anyway, my parents always bribed us with Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books forced us as kids to write thank you notes and letters. It made me annoyed at them (maybe it still does?) but I thank them for it now because I think it’s one of the places I developed my love for writing.

This isn’t about me though (actually, technically it is since my mug is plastered all over the pages of the URL you just typed in…but whatever). It’s about the fact that letter writing is a dying art and I want to know why.

There’s something innately mysterious about seeing your name in dried ink on the front of an envelope. It’s hard to explain. It’s kind of like the first time you go on a date with a girl or the feeling you get when you buy a book you’ve been dying for. You don’t know what the future holds but in that moment it can be anything you can imagine.

The future of letter writing though, who knows? Where’s it going? Where’s it gone? Do we not have enough time? Do we think writing on the web is better because it is, theoretically, endless? Is it too expensive?

I want your thoughts. Best theory gets a letter from me. It’ll be short. Unlike this post.

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