Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A New Habit?

I did something yesterday that I haven't done in ages. I wrote a real bona fide letter and mailed it. I think that I may try to develop the habit of writing at least one a week.

You never get real letters anymore. I guess that email has pretty much done away with the need for it, but it sure is a thrill to go to the mailbox and get something out that is not a bill and is not a form letter or junk mail. They are so rare they jump right out at you. You can spot one on the bottom of a stack of mail.

I love getting personal emails too. (Unfortunately the first person to ever send spam wasn't hung, drawn, and quartered. It may have prevented people from polluting that form of communication the way that the mail has been.) But I find that the whole texting revolution has cheapened e-mail. I suppose that it is understandable that folks don't really put a whole lot of effort into most of their e-mails (although I have some friends who do) there really isn't any cost associated with sending an e-mail besides time, and time is what e-mail is supposed to save.

I suppose that is the beauty of a real, bona fide letter. If you are going to spend 43 cents to mail something (or whatever the rate is now) you figure you'd better make it worth the expense. You might as well write one a couple pages long. Heck, you get a whole ounce before the rate goes up! I find that is good for about 4 standard sized pages, and if you write front and back that makes for a pretty long letter.

I like letters better than cards too. I mean, a card is better than nothing, but just barely, when all the person does is sign their name to a generic greeting card. It is nice to be thought of and nice to get something in the mail that isn't asking for (or demanding) money, but I am generally not moved. Of course you can spend an hour looking for a card that actually says what you want it to say and then pay $5 for it plus postage. That's almost as good as a letter. I'll keep a card like that, but it still isn't quite up there with a hand-written letter.

I suppose that there are some down sides to the old-school letter. It can be hard to read the handwriting. I tend to make mistakes which gets messy. And I generally like to keep a copy of what I write. This has a tendency to slow down the reply process for me to either hand write a copy or find a copy machine somewhere. Still, I think that the benefit will outweigh the cost.

So, I think that I am going to pick someone I know and write a letter to them - a good, old fashioned letter - every week. It will be a different person every week. If they write back then they'll get another one! It can be my way of spreading a little love in this impersonal, electronic world that we live in. If you want to be included and you aren't sure if I have your mailing address, you can leave your address in a comment on this post and I'll write to you. I won't publish the comment so that you don't have to worry about your information being out there for all the world to see. Let's see if we can revive letter writing!

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