The art of letter writing

International Letter Writing Week, October 4 -...

International Letter Writing Week, October 4 – 10, 1959 :*Denomination: 60 Filler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As some of you may know, I am planning a holiday in 2016. in the meantime, I am researching what I can about Japanese customs and etiquette, learning the language and picking up any little titbits I can along the way. I plan to write these things in a letter for my mum so she can learn along with me. This isn’t the kind of thing that can be communicated effectively over the phone, and Mum doesn’t have regular access to a computer, so it will have to be snail mail. There is just one problem. I haven’t the faintest idea how to go about writing a personal letter (never having had to write one in my life). I’ve written cover letters, of course, but the format seems a tad formal for a letter to my mother.

Unfortunately, letter writing is a skill that has been in decline since the invention of the telephone, and the introduction of the internet, with its ability to send an email almost instantly, has sounded the death knell to snail mail. About the only thing we are likely to receive in the mail is bills and other official correspondence – not to forget the advertising, of course. This is a sad state of affairs. If you speak to your grandparents, they will describe the excitement of listening for the postman in anticipation of a letter from a much-loved relative or friend. They will tell of the indecision when writing a reply – which news to include, which to leave out? Finally, they will tell of the nostalgia they feel as they look over old letters which they can hold in their hands. Letters are more than just words on a computer screen. They are memories. They are emotions. They are records of the past – not just dry facts, but the true history of real people. They contain a magic that cannot be obtained from an email or a phone call.

Fortunately, there are a handful of people striving to keep the art of letter writing alive. A simple google search will reveal several sites devoted to this very thing. Letter writing is a skill and it is a skill I intend to learn. Have you ever written or received a personal letter or do you rely fully on telephones and email?

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