Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

One of my favorite bands, Arcade Fire, wrote a beautiful song called "We Used to Wait."  The song is all about how we used to write letters, and we used to anticipate and wait for the arrival of letters in the mail.  It expands on how important that waiting period was, and how different times have become.  This song really grabbed my attention.  It made me think about how much instant gratification we receive nowadays with texting, email, and social network.  We don't have to wait for responses from anyone anymore, and if we do, we get anxious or irritated with how long it takes.  This is a little excerpt from the lyrics:

I used to write,I used to write letters I used to sign my nameI used to sleep at nightBefore the flashing lights settled deep in my brain
But by the time we metBy the time we met the times had already changed
So I never wrote a letterI never took my true heart I never wrote it downSo when the lights cut outI was left standing in the wilderness downtown
Now our lives are changing fastHope that something pure can last
It seems strangeHow we used to wait for letters to arriveBut what's stranger stillIs how something so small can keep you alive
We used to wait
This song always makes me long for simpler times.  I think writing letters is one way of bringing that feeling back.  Letter writing is so personal.  To this day, I get excited when I receive a handwritten envelope in the mail.  Knowing someone had to sit down and keep the speed of their thoughts in unison with the speed of their handwriting gives me a peaceful feeling.  Since the dawn of time we have been communicating through writing and symbols, and I fear that handwriting may become a thing of the past.  While I am grateful for the new doors and amazing communication opportunities that today's technology has given us, I'm still hopeful that some of us will continue to preserve the romantic and  thought inducing tradition of letter writing.
  One person I know will continue with this tradition is my sister-in-law, Courtney Hunt.  She is the ultimate letter-writer.  She puts pen to paper almost every day.  I would say that we receive a letter from her at least once, to twice a month.  Courtney does not own a computer or have a text message plan on her phone, so writing letters is one of her favorite past times.  

 Not only does she write to her friends and family, but she also has a pen pal in Belgium, and they exchange letters and photos quite frequently.  I always look forward to seeing what Courtney has to share with us when I find a letter from her in our mail box.  Each letter is filled with love, and sometimes signed with paw prints from her cat, Alvin.  He's very talented!  

My goal in all of these thoughts about writing letters is to make it a point to write letters at least once a month.  I have been sitting down, writing thank you letters.  I love how taking the time to be quiet with your thoughts allows you to turn inward, and connect with yourself.  Its therapeutic, along the lines of meditation. I think there is always so much to be thankful for, even if it seems to be something mundane.  Writing a letter to thank someone will not only brighten their day, but will give yourself some inner loving, as well.  Anything we can do to spread love is something worth doing.  Writing a letter is a perfect example.
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1 comment:

  1. Lindsay,
    Thank you for posting this. You are absolutely correct about writing becoming a lost art. Our school district does not even teach cursive writing anymore. I look forward to more of your entries... Congratulations.

    Linda Ellington-Palmer


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