– by Jessica Edney
I’m not going to write a post about how I think it’s awfully tragic that people don’t write letters any more, and I’m certainly not going to sit here and moan about social media as if I’m a crotchety old woman frightened of a changing world. I like technology, I like the internet. I think it’s wonderful that I can sit in my tiny little room in North London and talk instantaneously with friends in Morocco, Australia and Japan, with the only hindrance being the time difference. It’s wonderful that I can share my writing and photographs and drawings with people I’ve never met, for free!
All the same, I don’t think WhatsApp or Facebook messenger has ever given me quite the same rush of excitement that I feel when I find a handwritten letter in the post. In a way, I’m glad that snail mail isn’t an everyday thing anymore, because I’m not sure that I would appreciate it as much as I do now that there are quicker, cheaper and easier options. Before email, mobile phones and the internet, people wrote letters because it was the most practical form of communication. Now, people write them because they love to, or because they want to show somebody how much they care, or because they enjoy the sense of nostalgia. The price of stamps has risen, so it would be impractical to write regularly, and as a result, I try to make the most of a single letter and make it as interesting and full of life as possible!
I think messenger apps like Facebook or WhatsApp are great in a fix – if I need to tell a friend I’m running late to meet up, I’m hardly going to send word via carrier pigeon. But because Whatsapp/Facebook is instantaneous and free, I don’t put as much thought into my messenges. That’s why I’m going to try and write postcards and letters more often to my close (but geographically distant) friends and family. I just hope they write back!
I was partially inspired to write this post because I’ve just finished reading a beautiful, if tragic book: The Strange Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault. I won’t spoil it for you, but it contains a lot of letter/poetry writing, but with a hauntingly dark twist. Also, if you’re interested in writing letters for a good cause, be sure to check out www.moreloveletters.comI’ve collected so many postcards when travelling or visiting galleries, I’m just glad that I can now put them to a good use!