Thursday, February 11, 2010
The art of writing letters
I've been thinking a lot lately about how using the internet has all but killed the art of letter writing.
I used to love to hand write letters, and have written hundreds upon hundreds in my years. I hear they're still out there...friends have told me they have kept them...and that is also thought provoking to me. It's like my history is spread out around the country in little envelopes.
There was a time when families kept oral histories, and if you're one of the lucky ones, perhaps you have old family correspondence to reflect back on, as well. My neighbor Kathy was telling me recently about a diary that has been passed along in her family, written by a woman in her family in upstate New York in the 1700s. She has offered to share it with me. After listening to her talk about her family history, it made me wish I had a decade to devote to studying her family and perhaps writing a book about it. I know so little about my own family history, but then, maybe that's OK. I can write my own history, can't I?
I have two friends who will still write letters once in a blue moon. Nowadays, we're all too "busy" to take that time. The time I spent writing letters with my morning coffee is now spent on the internet.
It's a different world, and I'm not saying I don't like it...I just worry that one day, our kids and their kids won't have much of us to reflect back on, between digital photos and e-mails. How can we make sure that doesn't happen???
(Photo of 100 year old letter courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt.)