Monday, June 20, 2011

The Hand Written Word

As I work on a piece entitled “Love Letters” I wonder “when was the last time that you received a hand-written letter?”  In some cases, depending on your age you might answer that with the word ‘never’.  You may receive birthday cards with a note jotted inside – but a full blown letter written out by hand?
I’m old enough to have lived when penmanship was still taught in schools, when hand written letters were the main communication with friends and family who were not close enough to visit in person.  I remember laboriously writing a letter to my Grandmother, sitting at my Mother’s desk and printing out the words of a third grader. Later in life my aunt showed me a letter that my mother wrote to her when she was pregnant.  I have all the letters that my son wrote to me when he was stationed in Iraq during that first war.  There are many cases where the letters of famous authors were kept and later printed out for all of us to read.  Somehow I'm not sure that saved emails would have quite a same allure.
My penmanship is not very good – a handwritten letter from me would require hours of work to even be readable.  I welcomed the electric typewriter, the word processor and the internet.  I love blogging – both writing and reading them.  I love that I have developed friendships with people I would never have known if not for this wonderful invention.  But I think back fondly to the many handwritten letters I have received in the past - of brewing a cup of tea, curling up in my favorite chair and carefully opening a sealed envelope.

"Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them". - Johann Wolfgang von Goeth


  1. Hi Penny.
    I wrote a post about this very subject last year. Over the years I have accumulated favorite bloggers snail mail addresses. At Halloween, I sent everyone who's address I had a handmade Halloween card.

    I love to get written cards and letters. Yes, they are more special than an electronic one, though I value the electronics too because I understand that people don't always have the time, ability or finances to post snail mail.

    I recently heard on the news that some school systems were considering eliminating penmanship class. How sad.

    xx, Carol

  2. Yes, there is something to be said for a hand written letter that is addressed to you only.

  3. I don't have many, but a friend of mine was posted to Afghanistan last year, and I wrote regularly, and he wrote back. As you said, sitting down with a cup of tea to decipher a Real Letter is a pleasure quite unlike reading an email!

  4. You are so right about handwritten cards and letters. They are so special and I save every one I receive.

  5. ...just have a go at reading those letters I posted this time!....I know they're in french...but the writing is so small even I can't read much of it.

    I think letter-writing is so romantic....much more personal than a machine-written one...

    ...maybe we could start a real-letter-writing thing

    ...food for thought....

  6. Hi Penny, Ipopped over here to see what Chris meant about her new toy but read this instead. I wrote something along teh same lines last year and was surprised by how many people responded to it. We did a handwritten post day afterwards. It was a lot of fun.



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