Rare Art of Letter Writing

write-more-lettersWith depressing regularity, I find essays and news articles about the “Lost Art of Letter Writing.” I even wrote one myself for Newsweek in 2001.

Yet, however uncommon it may be to receive a letter, the art is not lost. No one needs to research arcane manuscripts to discover how the ancients communicated with pen and paper. Office supply stores still sell envelopes; card shops, drug stores and bookstores sell notecards; and even supermarkets sell stamps. Postmen travel their rounds. We all know how to construct written messages as we prove daily with texts, emails, and tweets.

Maybe all we lack is that focused moment when everything magically comes together — paper, envelope, pen, stamp and purpose. Perhaps what was once a common solitary activity needs to be reintroduced in a more social setting.

vka-letters-229301-jpgA museum in Canada recently set up a letter writing station in conjunction with an exhibit, promising to stamp and mail any letters that people wrote on site. The Jaffee Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University holds Real Mail Fridays once a month to couple letter writing with coffee and cookies. And several libraries and local organizations are hosting their own letter writing parties. Should I organize something for Post Whistle in my area? Stay tuned for more on that idea.

In the meantime, Valentine’s Day approaches, and that’s a great reason to pop something in the mail. Let’s make the Rare Art of Letter Writing a little more common in our own corners of the world.

9 thoughts on “Rare Art of Letter Writing

  1. patlandon5 says:

    REAL MAIL FRIDAYS was a blast.John Cutrone was gracious to give me the back story.Last FEB,the 2nd anniversary of this event,50 people were in attendance.Plenty of donated and purchased supplies were at hand;papers,handmade envies,fountain pens,markers,glues,rubber stamps,ink-pads,card stock,craft scissors and stamps to mail your letters.Refreshments were yummy,ass’t teas,coffee,cream,biscotti, and nuts.A suggested donation of $10.00.Three hours,3-6 pm,closing time,is very generous.Everyone was super nice and enthusiastic.If anyone has an event like this where they live,don’t miss it.Birds of a feather must fly together.

    • Susan Lendroth says:

      So glad it was a great experience. I’m trying to persuade a local library to cohost something similar. No luck yet, but there are other libraries for me to try. 🙂

  2. patlandon5 says:

    Eric was kind enough to give a personal tour of the JAFFE CENTER… an amazing place…book arts indeed! I wanted to get a feel for the space prior to “REAL MAIL FRIDAYS”,which is tomorrow.They supply everything you need to write your letters…so I’m getting together an address list…what’s yours? Will report back tomorrow:)

  3. patlandon5 says:

    Dear Susan,
    Happy Holidays.I’ve cleared my calendar to attend REAL MAIL FRIDAYS on May 1,will observe with a keen eye while participating and report back to you.

    • Susan Lendroth says:

      We look forward to your report! Let them know you learned about Real Mail Fridays on the blog — that we support what they are doing.

  4. patlandon5 says:

    Real Mail Fridays is just 10 min away from me,I never knew.As a prolific letter writer,mail artist and blogger,I just cannot fathom that some people not only do not know how to write a proper letter,but they have never had the experience of writing one.We never truly know how our actions influence others and I am sure,that if you had a workshop,it would be a delightful contribution to our society.Of course,you should tell us all about it here.

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