Letters

July 24, 2006

I’m re-reading Cathleen Schine’s “The Love Letter”. It’s so completely different from the movie, and yet, so the same. One of those rare books come movies that can each be enjoyed on it’s own, rather than one ruining the other as is so often the case.

No one writes letters anymore. Not real letters. We all email, or text, or comment, but no one writes. It’s a lost art form, but not a lost desire. Despite that fact that none of us write, we all still long to receive. There is nothing better than receiving an envelope in the mail that is so obviously not a bill, or an endorsement for something. It’s that unexpected little leap your heart makes upon seeing an envelope that’s been hand written, even better if it’s been embellished. What could be inside? What news has flown your way? Just the other day, I received an envelope from my mother. Inside was a short note, explaining the accompaning picture of my grandmother who passed two months ago. I didn’t know it was coming, and it was a joy to receive it.

Why is writing letters so hard? Is it the time? Are we too busy to put down our thoughts and our lives on paper? After all, how many of us can’t even use real words in emails? “How R U? I’m OK. LOL. GTG. TTYL.” etc. Or is it as Ms. Schine states in her book becasue “…letters are ephemeral…It changes utterly the moment it slips inside an envelope. It stops being mine. It becomes yours. What I meant is gone. What you understand is all that remains. Open it – there’s nothing there but what you see.” Are we all tired of being misunderstood? We can’t convey our sarcasm or our anger or our happiness adequetly in a letter, so we don’t write at all. We’ll probably never know. Either way, it’s sad to see something so lovely become obsolete.

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