Pen and paper…

When was the last time you received a letter in the mail?

Something other than a bill….  not a shipment from an online order.  An actual letter.  

I want mail!!!

Real, honest to goodness, hand-written letters containing casual discourse and sentiments from a friend, family member or the like have somehow become extinct.

I’ve found myself having this discussion twice in the last week while reading posts of my fellow bloggers.  My friend shared, “Patience Is A Virtue”  at Reminiscing Via the Written Language, highlighting not only our love of technology, but also the lack of patience we’ve acquired due to increased use of technology.  Another find was “It’s a Small World” from Wordsmith’s Writing Desk highlighting the broadness of technology and how internet has made it so easy to “meet”  individuals from all over the world with the click of a button.  The post that followed, “Too Great a Price To Pay” fell into suit leading me to this post today. 

When I was younger, I somehow buddied up with the older sister of one of my friends.  She kinda took me under her wing and looked out for me.  I was devastated when they moved away, afraid we’d never speak again.  Imagine my excitement when I received a letter in the mail from Becky. It wasn’t just any letter however; it was plastered with doodles, stickers and happy faces; heart-felt words were hand-written from top to bottom from and back.  Our letters went on for a good while; each time the mail carrier delivered one I couldn’t have been more excited!  Somewhere along the way our correspondence tapered off until it ceased completely.  Some 20 odd years later, I still have a couple of these letters saved in storage.  Why?  I dunno… They’re a part of my story I guess.  A relic.  A memory.

Friendly letters.  Love letters.  Letters to pen pals. 

 When I was quite young, I once even wrote a letter to a company because the package of pushpins I purchased did not include the correct number of push pins in the package as it advertised!  AND, I got a letter in response, along with another package of push pins (which also didn’t have the correct number of pins in the package I might add)… But still I wrote a letter and got one in return.

As I got older, I wrote letters to some of my “elder” friends as they began going off to college.  When I went away to college I received and wrote many a letter myself.  Somewhere though, the letters started to dwindle and e-mails began to be exchanged. 

E-mails continue but Instant Messaging begins to take over followed by texting, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. 

I think the fellas hit the nail on the head… we’ve lost patience; we want instant gratification.

As for my thoughts…   

I am a lover of technology… I have a laptop, a cell phone, an iPod and such.  I utilize each on a daily basis.  Quite honestly when one or all of this gadgets is down and own, I’m kinda lost.  Recently, I was left with no cell phone for about 2 & 1/2 hours and seriously didn’t know what to do with myself.  My laptop was down for a bout 2 weeks until a replacement a/c adaptor came in the mail and I found myself squinting and fumbling over my thumbs while trying to post to WordPress from my phone.  If I text a friend and I don’t get a somewhat immediate response, I am left wondering if they are angry or something is wrong.  My Nike + adaptor wasn’t working for my iPod so instead of walking without knowing my distance and time, I took along my phone to track my run in addition to my iPod so that I could listen to tunes; God forbid I jog just to jog and listen to my surroundings instead of filling my ears with familiar songs.

As I shared over at Wordsmith’s, it is so amazing to meet people from all walks of life, all over the world and be able to communicate so freely through the blogosphere, twitter, IM and so forth. I consider myself pretty damn lucky to have met the people I have in this ever-growing cyber world through my blog.  Sometimes, even though I know my in-person friends and family are reading this, it can be easier to share more freely here and converse with my “blogging friends” more openly.  We’re all here doing the same things; sharing our thoughts, stories and humor with the world.   But, as my friend at Written Language pointed out, technology has made us become less patient.

We no longer take the time to handwrite letters; why? Because it takes “SO LONG” for them to be delivered that the information contained within may no longer be of importance. Why write a letter when we can text, IM, blog, or tweet and instantly gain a response, seek approval or voice an opinion? 

The personal side of human discourse is a bit lost in translation when it comes to utilizing technology as the only means of communication.  While it remains hard to “read” a person’s tone in a written letter just as it is in texts, chats and emails, at least there is still the personal side; knowing that someone took the time to sit down and write you a note expressing well wishes, thoughts and concerns without including acronyms for anything and everything from LOL to IDK to whatever heck else is used as substitutions means something. 

I remember being so excited to receive hand-written letters in the mail when in college and younger. While I am extremely thankful for all that technology allows us to do and the numerous ways it allows us to communicate, wouldn’t it be wonderful to get something in the mail other than bills that need paid?

Would you like to receive a letter in the mail?

I’d probably do a happy dance if I got a letter in the mail from a friend! I kid you not! 

Kids today (Ughhh!  I can’t believe I just said that.  Swore I never would after hearing my pap say it! ) have not a clue how to write a letter, let alone address an envelope.  And let’s be honest, why should they?  Is the art of writing a letter lost and thrown to the wayside only to be substituted with text messages?  What are we teaching our future leaders? 

Personally….

I’m no better at this than the rest.  I too am guilty of not WRITING letters to anyone. With the exception of Christmas cards and the tiny greeting and obligatory sentiments thrown in, I don’t do much by way of hand-written correspondence.  Perhaps receiving cards in the mail is yet another reason I love Christmas so very much.  It’s the one time of year I have more correspondence in the mail than I do bills!  I am absolutely going to do something to change that as I had  included items on the list to mail cards to people for no reason.   Don’t be surprised if you end up with a little note saying hello for no reason at all.  I don’t want anything in return… except maybe that you return the favor to someone else.

Patience….

Practice patience in your everyday life.  I’m trying my best to do so.  Instant isn’t everything.  What is there left worth waiting for if you can get everything and experience everything instantaneously?  Take a deep breath; relax a little; have patience; be patient.

Use what God gave you… Write a letter; send a card; leave a note for your spouse or child.  Try it instead of sending a text or emailing.  See what kind of result you have… you just may be surprised at the reaction. 

When was the last time you received a letter in the mail?  When was the last time you sent a letter in the mail?

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16 thoughts on “Pen and paper…

  1. Well said. I love technology too, but it can take over our lives. And when the convenience is temporarily unplugged, we panic. Ten years ago we didn’t have all these gadgets and we lived perfectly normal lives. I have to make an effort not to get wrapped up in my stuff.

    I love getting hand written stuff too. It feels personal. I remember I sent someone a card and they liked seeing my handwriting, it was sweet when he told me that.

  2. Excellent post! Writing by hand is a dying art and that is why i still admire anyone who takes time to write a note, send a card, or a postcard. It is generational too as my teens are keyed in like their peers. They still do some projects by hand but barely. I still write in long hand on notepads because I love the feel of pen on paper and because my typing is so so.
    Eliz

    • So glad to know I’m not alone! Keep the writing alive Eliz! 😀 Nothing better to me than finding a new “favorite” pen to use! I actually have a bit of an obsession when it comes to papers and pens. Both come in mighty handy with my crafty endeavors; At least that’s the excuse I use when I’m buying them. 😛

  3. Great post! I’m actually worried one day schools will just teach kids to use a computer and not write at all! I like writing in longhand when drafting my book bit it does take longer so I can see me leaving that one day. I haven’t hand written a letter for years just Xmas cards. Wanna be pen pals?! 😉

    • It frightens me also Vic; what use do the kids have for it if they are not made to do it?!? Working on papers in grad school I still handwrote my drafts… I found it easier than typing and proofing that way. I would LOVE to be pen pals chica! Seriously? Let’s do it!!! 😀

  4. Absolutely spot on! It’s so touching to receive a handwritten letter and know that someone has cared enough to take the time to write it. So much more personal than a quick text or email. I’m going to write one tonight to a friend I’ve not been in touch with for ages. Thanks for the reminder of the way things should be done.

    • I’ve decided my letters are going to be to former students of mine whose families sent me christmas cards. There were a set of triplets I taught in kindergarten and they moved away near the end of the school year; I get a Christmas card from each of the 3 every year… They’re now in 4th grade 🙂

    • That’s so awesome! I’d LoVe to get mail once a week 🙂 I need to get on that and start mailing some letters out… do it not just say it!

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