{02/02/2012}   Writing letters

25 letters will be written and posted by me in the month of February. This may be a challenge too far as these 500 words are a struggle every day. I write letters still anyway but each one usually takes about two months to finish.
This all comes from a website link a friend forwarded on to me,
I have always written letters. As a school girl I wrote to various penpals I found through Horse & Pony magazine. I also wrote to a few friends. When I was 18 and living in Germany I wrote to my family and friends (no email, mobile phones or cheap calls abroad), likewise studying in America, to friends who worked or studied abroad, etc. I now write at least a note with all Christmas and birthday cards (apart from ones I hand out because they are friends I often see), a thank you letter to an aunt, letters to a few friends abroad and, maybe less conventional and necessary, to a few friends who live in the UK but who I don’t see often.
I have already listed the “lucky” recipients. I thought I wouldn’t make it over 25 but I got to 30 easily and without duplication.
I have just had a ferret around for writing paper but it seems I am running low on nice stuff. I spent about 20 minutes in WH Smith earlier looking for nice pens, but didn’t like any of the tester ones and couldn’t justify the prices for packaged un-testable ones. I went on ebay earlier and am now involved in bidding wars over stationery sets (as an aside I note that the vast majority of people spell it with an ‘a’ – ‘E’ for Envelope equals stationEry of the paper kind). This is a serious undertaking! It’s day two and I’ve already banked an extra one for an inevitable day when I don’t get one written.
Inside my most used suitcase I store a box of old letters which I randomly selected from the hundreds of letters I have at my mum’s. I like keeping them in there because as soon as I get out that case I have a look at one or two. Maybe it’d be more interesting to have the letters I’d written but as I am still friends with most of these letter writers, it’s interesting to read about them and to see by their questions or comments what must’ve been on my mind at that time too.
I don’t keep emails, bar the ones I haven’t deleted, and I don’t usually read them more than once. I do sometimes reply to longer ones by reading through and responding as I go. I keep letters. When they arrive, I rarely just open them. I keep them until I can sit down, usually with a mug of tea. I often re-read them and I aim to reply with the letter in front of me. The receiving of a letter never fails to make me smile.
I enjoy writing them too. It feels like a way of writing blather, it’s therapeutic, it’s personal, it’s usually hand written, it takes a chunk of my time to write. I feel close to the person I’m writing to (assuming we are only talking about nice letters here!). I am aware that, with all the waffle and bluster, the friend reading my letter will also hear me, aided greatly by the tangible nature of letters. I have also written about stresses, worries, problems in a more open way than I would probably speak, I guess that’s the diary element of a letter. And I have had some great advice and support from my friends as a result.
I don’t quite know what it is that makes a letter so special. Maybe it’s the time you know has been taken to write it and post it. Maybe it’s the process of opening the envelope and unfolding a letter. Maybe it’s that we don’t receive many, unlike emails. Maybe it’s that it’s lovely to set aside a bit of time to sit down and read a letter. Maybe it’s because it’ll be full of news and we probably have no idea what the letter is about. Maybe it reminds us of times when the only way to communicate with some people was via letter, nostalgia. Maybe it’s just nice to know that someone was thinking about you enough to actually want to write to you.
This is not a well written or informative blog post today but it has helped fuel my enthusiasm for letter writing month. I am now of course hoping at least some people I write to will write back!


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