Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Art of Letter Writing

How many "writers" out there still take time to write a long letter to someone? I'm not talking a 10 slide powerpoint you're forwarding on with a "personal" comment from you. I'm talking a heart-felt, well thought out letter full of descriptive updates on the well being of family members, a "take me there" account of an important event that you know they may have wanted to be there for or how much they truly mean to you and why.

In this age of technology where we no longer have to wait for a letter to reach us through a mail carrier and where even emails are now considered too long-winded, the art of letter writing is akin to caligraphy. It's just not practiced anymore. What a shame!

Do yourself a favor and find some letters written years ago by ordinary people who had no other means necessary or readily availabe to them. Visit one of the war-time exhibits or museums and read the correspondence between husbands and wives, mothers and sons or sweethearts. It's some deep stuff! Go futher back and peruse the letters that read like short novels full of prose. It seems everyone was a writer. What era do most of our classic or contemporary classic writers come from? When people were still sending long letters back and forth. Could there be a correlation?

During that era of communication, one took time to put their thoughts and hearts into words when composing a letter. They knew what they wrote would have to take the place of words, loving glances and caresses. They were sending out themselves and every word was important. The practiced art of letter writing couldn't help but develop the skills of those doing the writing.

Become an artist! Pick a relative, an out of state friend or a stranger penpal and start writing letters. Make it your goal to write letters two to three pages long. It will help to develop two things: your ability to sit and write anything, removing the anxiety of the blank page and the ability to convey your thoughts and feelings through the written word. Practice may not make perfect; not in a writer's continuous self-editing mind, but it will make writing easier and better.

~Keep writing