I love everything about them. I love the envelopes they come in that smell of glue and office supply stores. I love the crinkled folds of the envelopes that contain letters slightly smaller than they could hold. I love tearing open the envelope and delving into the treasure inside, whether it's a brief note or a long one. I love reading and rereading something that was just days before in someone else's possession, in someone else's home. I love when someone cares enough to take a moment to write down their thoughts for me to read. I love looking at someone's handwriting or printing, and seeing their personality in how they write.
I love writing letters. I love sitting down with a stack of paper and my favorite pen, and putting words to the pages - where I feel like words should always be. I love my pen and my brain working together to get my thoughts out, resulting in a creation that reads like a journal entry that is made for public viewing. I love the brief moments where I stop to consider the best word to articulate my exact thought and emotion. I love reading my letter over, for an instant wondering if I'm prepared to let whoever is meant to receive it see so much of me on paper. I love the fact that I usually decide I'm not ready, but always fold it neatly into thirds and seal it away, not to be opened until it's in someone else's hands. I love the vulnerability of letters, of knowing that once you send it, it belongs to someone else.
I love the idea of old-fashioned letters, written on beautiful paper with a pen reserved especially for letter writing. I love the idea of spritzing perfume on the pages before sending it away with the postman. I love the idea of waiting for a response to a letter. I love the anticipation of the mail carrier's arrival, the awkward peeking out the window until the coast is clear before running to the mailbox to see if anything is in it for me.
I'm very passionate about letter writing. I wrote one tonight, and after sealing the envelope I sat and thought about how sad it is that letter writing is considered to be a lost art. There are kids all over the place who have never written a letter, who don't know how to address an envelope...that is so sad to me.
I spent my childhood writing letters to various cousins, pen-pals, and friends. I spent my teenage years writing letters to my friends every summer, even though we had outlets like myspace and e-mail where we could have written to each other. I hadn't written one for a while, but tonight all my love for letter writing came screaming back to me.
There's something so therapeutic about putting your thoughts on paper for others to read, which is one of the biggest attractions I have to writing letters. I'm a huge fan of the anticipation of receiving a letter. Unfortunately, today's society is all about instant gratification. If you want to write someone, you shoot them an e-mail (you would never use the expression "I'll shoot you a letter" when referring to snail mail) and usually have a response within the day (unless you e-mail me...I avoid my e-mail at all costs, because something about it makes me so nervous. I don't like the fact that when people e-mail you they expect a response right away, as if I am required to constantly be checking my e-mail and sending replies as quickly as I possibly can).
With letter writing, you don't receive it right away...and once you do finally receive it, you don't have to write back that instant. You can take a moment and enjoy the fact that you just received a letter, then take your time forming a response before sending one back.
It's all so poetic and wonderful to me.