What do you think? Is letter writing dead? Do you think those days are gone when buying stationary was a beautiful fetish? Where giving/receiving a gift set of notes and envelopes was actually quite nice? Oh, and some smelled pretty too! How about a leather writing compendium complete with expensive pen? A yearly agenda planner and a not-so-expensive pen?
Our Australia Post has recently practically declared bankruptcy as no one sends letters anymore. So their response was to double the cost of a stamp. Well, that'll stamp it out altogether.
So by all evidence letter writing seems to be yet another dying art, along with 'proper' English, landlines, taking phone calls instead of messages, regular SLR cameras etc.
So, what's the cause of this demise? That's easy, isn't it? Email's the go (although it's already old hat according to my Face-timing, Snapchatting students). Twitter and texting and facebooking are quicker and easier, so why write a boring old letter say you?
But the death of the letter really kills me.
A person born in the last 20 years may never have sent or read a handwritten letter. Wow! Really! The thought of picking up a pen and writing a personal message to someone seems foreign to the young and now many of the not-so-young. But don't handwritten letters offer a unique and personal touch that can never be replicated in our 'new' ways of communicating?
Are our mailboxes just for bills? Ugh!
Is a major literary era on its last legs? Double ugh!
The written word is undeniably the most dynamic discovery of human history that sets us apart from the animal world and personal letters have traditionally been an important literary medium.
JK Rowling is a prolific modern day letter writer. But if we want to, we can also read the letter collections of writers such as Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Graham Green as well as some of the famous political leaders of the 19th or 20th centuries. And who could forget Anne Frank's handwritten diary?
|A couple of precious pages from Anne's diary I snapped at|
Anne Frank Haus, Amsterdam
|Old French postcards written during war time|
Did you have a pen pal when growing up? I had several. How I enjoyed receiving those light airmail letters replete with the daily doings of a life in Japan, or Canada, or Alaska. Had far more appeal than a Facebook post or two hundred.
I recently read an article that claimed that highest-level communiques should be hand written in an effort to thwart spying. So maybe it's back to the future in some areas!
US President Barack Obama said in 2012: 'In my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are.'
That man does have a way with words.
- Do you still write personal letters?
- Does the demise of personal letters worry you or are you all for technological ways of communicating?
- Do you ever hand write your stories?