This time last year, we were finishing out the end of the decade and making plans for 2020, a fresh start. And, we did…then the unknown hit us! The pandemic has brought a mixture of good and bad, but one of the good things it has done for us is reinstated the importance of letter writing.
During the year, people of all ages have reacquainted themselves with letter writing to communicate with loved ones who are at a distance. Some have said, letter writing has broken up the monotony of spending most of the waking day consumed by technology; whether it be for work or leisure activities. We are all becoming very familiar with the 2020 term "Zoom Fatigue" which is leading to us pulling out of online family quizzes and friend catch-ups and opting instead for a more traditional medium to stay connected.
While a large amount of our Monoset readers are already avid writers, there is a large amount of the global population who have swapped out an email and social media for sitting down with their thoughts in a quiet space.
In today's piece, we dig deeper to explore why letter writing has become such a "trending" topic of conversation in the media and the value it has brought to so many of us in this extraordinary year.
Many have described the art of letter writing as being a form of therapy during these 9 months. Taking the time to write good news, their feelings, musings, to reminisce with old friends in private. Californian based writer Lauren Markham wrote about the daily magic of the US Postal system "My correspondence with loved ones, and particularly fellow artists is what has kept me aloft in recent months in this era of devastating loss. Their letters, postcards and care packages have reminded me that there is still real, thrumming life out there, on the other side of my door, through the toxic smoke of the California wildfires and the haze of so much uncertainty, and that there is a reason to keep writing."
We all talk about the excitement of seeing a new notification on our phones and that adrenaline rush it brings, but it’s not quite the same as receiving a physical piece from someone who has taken the time to write to you. Jeremy Engle, a senior writer with the NY Times shared his experience in a recent article; "I’m hardly able to keep a regular journal without it feeling like a chore, but writing to someone else is sending a fresh entry off into the world without ever having to look at it again. In return, I’ll be left with something far more interesting than a mundane account of my own pandemic days: a patchwork of pages that were sent to me by others, each one fresher than the next."
A letter builds up anticipation for the recipient. Unlike an email or social media DM, a letter takes time to be processed and be reciprocated, which ultimately builds up that excitement and anticipation for the response to come through the post box.
Talia Laktritz, a senior reporter at Insider concurs “It doesn’t matter what the content of the letter is, the act of sending or receiving one is the main draw for me.” Think about your current behaviours. How excited do you now get to go and collect your post in the morning, maybe say hello to the postman or a neighbour. Has it formed part of your ‘new’ ritual? Saying hello to those you might never do.
For our elder community who've spent most of 2020 in isolation, letters from loved ones and indeed strangers have provided comfort and hope. If you Google it, you will find initiatives set up all across the world to encourage young generations to write to members of their elderly community with words of positivity.
In Ireland, Nursing Homes Ireland created "Comfort Words" a beautiful initiative to do just that. CEO Tadhg Daly explained "This presents an opportunity for children who know people in nursing homes to tell them how much they mean to them and how important they are to them. And children who don't know anyone in a nursing home can write a letter for all the residents, telling of their appreciation for older people and encouraging them to remain positive during Covid-19". Similarly, in Canada, kids connect with other children from coast to coast by letter, sharing words of encouragement with each other. It's genuinely heart-warming to see.
Something that many of us had lost in the fast-paced world of having everything at our fingertips was patience. This pandemic has taught us that our health is our wealth and that patience and downtime is something that we all must practice and hold onto as the threat of Covid-19 subsides. In a recent Desert Sage Column, Algernon D’Ammassa wrote, "The most famous excuse for not writing letters is, I don't have time. Now we have more time than ever before”. Letter writing doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Many of us avid letter writers vary from writing essays to just simple notes, it's an organic process. Where we learn about our patience is awaiting the response from a loved one.
We are living through a time of change and one of great learning that will go down in the history books. A letter allows us to take stock of what is happening in the world around us without being distracted by opinions from strangers online. Instead, it's you a pen, paper and your own thoughts. Think back to how we have learned about generations gone by through letters. It's our duty to leave a similar legacy for our future generations so they understand and learn from our experiences. These letters will be part of our own legacy!
In our next blog, we will talk about the types of letters that one can send, but before you do that, you'll need lovely stationery set to write on that will stand the test of time - https://monoset.com/collections/stationery-sets