Life, if anything, is no longer as human as it used to be. From reading to relationships, there’s an app for that. Expressing ourselves has never been easier by the myriads of programs available on our 8-inch screens. Yet, these types of programs have reduced people’s capability to compose beautiful writing. Texting has made the art of letter writing, apparently, retro.
My close friends and family wrote letters to me when I was living in Geneva, Switzerland. When I got back to Toronto I put the letters in a sturdy shoebox and would re-read them every so often. These letters reminded me that, even though I had moved to another country, I was still spiritually connected to the people I had built a bond with and that communicating through hand-written letters was one way to reinforce and secure those bonds.
Some of the super sweet letters that I received from friends while abroad and some that I got after I returned home. Receiving letters is more precious than receiving gold or diamonds, in my opinion.
As efficient as texting is, will we reread our What’sApp messages or Twitter posts? Even if we do, will they still give us the same warm, cuddly, feeling of a letter written and sent by your friend with a postage stamp across the Atlantic Ocean? Easily dismissed as ancient, letter writing is, apparently, no longer worth the time to do.
We write essays, exams, tests, resumes, cover letters, reports, and take notes during lectures. What’s similar about these writing activities is that they’re usually an obligation that requires forced, mental energy. They’re usually done under pressure and are, generally, uncomfortable to do.
These types of writing are usually done for faceless strangers; someone we’re told is important, but we’ll probably never meet. Yet, we will spend hours poring over the correct wording, form, and structure of our work to ensure that we stand out and make an impression on the reader’s mind. If we already put this much effort into writing for people whom we barely have a relationship with, why not take a few moments to compose a letter for people that we do like? It won’t have to be as long as that grad thesis, or as condensed as that cover letter, but when we write for someone we appreciate, it is definitely more enjoyable, and hopefully, fun too.
It’s an awesome feeling getting mail with your name on it that’s neither hydro bills nor advertisements.
Who are some people you can write to? Perhaps to the friends you made in university, the people you met while travelling, the mentors who have helped you get to where you are today, or maybe to the relatives that you only see once every 10 years?
Unlike that letter that you will write to the people that you like in your life, the individuals receiving your essay or marking your exam will be expecting your work and maybe even numb to all the effort you put into it (professors read hundreds of student essays every year after all). Your letter, on the other hand, will probably be an unexpected gesture for your receiver, and unlike that essay which will be shredded, or the Facebook messages that can be permanently deleted, your letter will be guarded, affectionately, in a sturdy-shoe box as well.