I took a little stroll down memory lane tonight, and I can barely remember the girl I was.
I found my old diaries when I was unpacking. I also found old love notes from high school. My high school boyfriend and I lived long distance from one another. We were in the same school, it’s just that the school district was so big that he was on one side, and I was on the other. So, since we couldn’t talk on the phone nearly as much as we wanted to (after the first phone bill, our parents were MAD), we wrote letters back and forth.
If we were teens today, we’d have cell phones or emails, and all those wonderful communications would be lost.
I’m sentimental, and I enjoy reading my old diaries and those old love letters. I don’t think that everything that happened in “the good old days” was all that good, but I do miss written communication. Did you know that some schools aren’t even teaching cursive writing anymore? They say it’s obsolete, and what kids really need to know is how to type. How sad is that?
I tried keeping a digital diary for years and wondered why it never stuck. When I went back to paper, I enjoyed writing in my journal much more than the digital version. Don’t get me wrong; I prefer to type than hand write for convenience, to save my hand from aching. I love blogging and Facebook. I love that as an author, I can write and rewrite on Word and it always looks clean.
However, I think that hand writing reflects personality. It’s more intimate, and even the worst handwriting has a certain beauty to it. We have to punctuate and spell without the benefits of autocorrect.
Because I despair the lost art of letter writing, because I’ve so enjoyed reading back into my past, and because I believe in being the change, I’m going to write letters to my friends. My goal by the end of the year is to write an actual letter to most of my friends. Some of them might send their own letters back, and some might not. To me, it doesn’t matter if they really do or not, what matters is that I’m making the effort, and I’m putting something interesting and beautiful into the world.
If you’re a reader of my blog, and would like an actual, handwritten letter, feel free to email me your address (email@example.com) and I will send you a letter sometime this year. It might be fun to have a penpal. (Remember penpals, from high school? My assigned penpal and I never hit it off… very sad.)
Some of my friends will be puzzled by my wanting to write letters. After all, isn’t email the same thing, just faster? They’ll humor me, but they won’t understand. Some will totally get it. Some will just be excited to get some mail that isn’t a bill. Writing letters are little pieces of history that we can choose to let die, or we can all make a conscious choice to preserve.
I recently went to the Lyndon Baines Johnson museum here in Austin, and I found lots of things interesting, but what I found most interesting were the letters written between him and Lady Bird, and the letters she wrote to others. I spent so much time reading them that my traveling companions laughed at me and how I kept “straggling.”
I’m not a president or a president’s wife, but I still think that my history is important, that your history is important. I think that what I have to say matters, not because I say anything terribly profound or important, but because I matter. You matter. And that means that what we have to say matters too, even when we disagree.
What do you think about this whole letter writing thing?