a woman of letters


last fall, after reading a short collection of speeches and correspondence by eleanor roosevelt, i decided to become a woman of letters. i figured that writers should really be writing everything, not texting or posting missives online.

there's a level of care and attention involved in writing letters that is unmatched in electronic communication. you have to think as you write (unless you use a pencil or erasable pen), cross things out (unless you use a pencil or erasable pen), maybe even crumple up a page and start all over again.

since my netbook crashed, and i've struggled to get it started again, i've returned to writing by hand and, despite the carpal tunnel, have fallen in love all over again -- with the anticipation of filling a blank sheet of paper, the certainty of the ink smudges on the edge of my hand. it feels real; while laptops and the internet, sometimes, feel so fake and empty.

so i sent a letter off to a college friend in Colorado. she is South African, married to a white Oklahoman, now relocated to Denver. the letter came as a total surprise to her, but she called me after getting it, very excited about the prospect of becoming pen pals. but she's taken awhile (8 months) to write back, and i haven't written any more letters since sending her that first one.

so. in the end, i have not been as successful at this endeavor as i thought i would be. but i am still trying. i think i will send another letter and see what happens. if i can get her to slow down for a minute, to pull out a pen or pencil and write to me.

how i would love to open up a letter and see her handwriting, perhaps a coffee stain, too, in the bottom corner. --AL.

2 comments:

{ Myne Whitman } | July 26, 2010 at 11:17 AM said...

Many people remember the days of writing letters long hand with fondness. I do too but can't really see that it is any different from emails and stuff. But it's been ages I got any letters, maybe I'll change my mind if I do. :)

Have a lovely week. Your article on NT explained, a bit, the niggling feeling I had about Terry's Stickfighting Days.

{ Alligator Legs } | July 26, 2010 at 8:30 PM said...

@Myne: Thanks for stopping by! I can't remember the last time I got a letter either. Can't believe email and text msgs have all but taken over. I'm not quite a reactionary, but have mos def contemplated throwing out my laptop and cell phone! ;)

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