By Melodie Veldhuizen
“I have realised how valuable the art and practice of letter-writing is and how important it is to remind people what a treasure hand-written letters can be. In our throw-away era of quicker phone calls, faxes and e-mails it is so easy to never make time to write letters. What a pity – for historians and for the rest of us” (Nancy Reagan).
Today technology is practically indispensable and enables us to make contact with loved ones and friends within seconds, even if thousands of kilometres separate us. But do you also sometimes think back with nostalgia to the days of hand-written letters?
Remember how news tit-bits, hearts’ secrets and declarations of love, sealed in an envelope, found their way among loved ones, lovers, family and friends? Between town and cities, provinces and even crossing countries’ boundaries. Unfortunately, hand-written letters have succumbed to the onslaught of technology, as e-mails, text messages, WhatsApps and Facebook messages are quicker and more reliable than snail mail. But an electronic message isn’t timeless. It can get lost when the cellphone or computer breaks, or it can be deleted.
Following are just a few reasons why you should write a letter now and then.
- A letter creates lasting memories and is timeless, as long after it has been written and mailed, and even after the authors’ and readers’ demise, letters can still be read by the generations to come.
- It shows that you care, as it is time-consuming to immortalise your thoughts on paper. You cannot just erase what you have written, which is why you have to ponder every word. To write coherently and convey your thoughts in a meaningful manner, you have to pay attention to the writing process as well as the receiver. In so doing, for a while you live entirely in the moment, with only that which you want to put down on paper and the envisaged receiver of the letter uppermost in your mind.
- The receiver will be surprised, because it will show that he/she is so important to you that you have made the effort to write to him/her.
- To share your true feelings with someone gives your state of mind a boost.
- It stimulates creativity as the visual, motor and cognitive brain processes are utilised in a different manner when you write than when you type. The sensory experience of the writing process can help to get the creative juices flowing.
- Letter-writing honours tradition, as there is something ‘holy’ and romantic attached to communicating in the same way our forefathers did.
- It is a life-long memento that is of more value than any bought item. There is something magical attached to reading a loved one’s heart on paper.
Decide who you want to write to – someone you haven’t seen in a long while, a lonely child in a children’s home or an elderly person in an old-age home. Buy pretty writing paper, envelopes and stamps. Allow yourself enough time. Relate an interesting or funny incident, or an anecdote from your childhood. Just have a cosy chat, or encourage the receiver and say that you care for him/her. Encourage him/her to write back. Mail the letter yourself.
Letter-writing need not be limited to people you seldom or never see. Write a letter to your loved one and place it in his briefcase. If you are living with your children, encourage your grandchild with a letter during the exams. Write a letter to your daughter/daughter-in-law to say you appreciate everything she does for you. Instead of a text message, write a thank you note to the hostess after a visit. While awaiting the birth of your grandchild with excitement, write a letter and tell her how much you are looking forward to her arrival. Or write a letter to your grandchild who is still too young to read, or who lives far away (perhaps overseas). Let her know how precious she is to you. Tell her about your childhood. Some day the letter will be one of her most precious possessions. The possibilities are endless.
Enjoy your writing. And delight in advance in the joy and excitement of the receiver.
Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/11/benefits-of-writing-letters-and-postcards_n_6425540.html
Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/traci-bild/5-reasons-to-write-a-handwritten-letter-now-not-later_b_7284236.html