I believe it was in third grade that the idea of a “pen pal” was first introduced; the concept was to enter into an exchange of letters with someone in another part of the world. I cannot for the life of me remember much else about the experience other than the feeling of exhilaration at receiving and opening my first letter of response from a stranger…
What would they say? Where were they from? How did they live? What did they want to know? What would they be willing to share with me? What were the first thoughts that came to them when talking to someone they didn’t know? Would they have questions and be curious? So many possibilities!!!
Ever since that point, I will honestly say that I’ve loved the idea of receiving letters in the mail. You can tell I’ve read far too much fiction in this life by a secret desire, harbored deep within my heart, to receive a letter, out of the blue, from someone I’ve never met. I just love seeing what people have to say.
In my younger 20’s, I wrote a thank you letter to an aunt and uncle in Philadelphia and was delightedly surprised when my uncle wrote me back. He wrote freehand on unlined paper and had beautifully scripted penmanship that I couldn’t hope to emulate to save my life. I still remember how it made me smile. It was unexpected, and things like that are why I love the art of letter writing (even if my penmanship is wanting…)
There’s something about taking the time to write out a letter by hand, thinking of the person you’re writing to, getting envelops and stamps, writing out the address, and finally mailing a letter that you cannot replicate with an email, blog post or anything particularly internet related. Writing something just for them, sending paper out across miles to find its way in someone else’s hands. Letters are not dependent on a wifi signal, and there’s something more….substantial, more real about them. At least that’s how some part of me has always felt.
The internet, besides being an incredible source of knowledge and information, has some wonderful purposes (this blog for instance wouldn’t exist without, and we know what a shame that would be ;)), but there is something to be said for some old school ways of doing things on occasion.
If you’ve grown up in mostly the digital age, it can be difficult to understand the anticipation of waiting for the mail, hoping and expecting something other than bills or junk mail when it isn’t your birthday or a card worthy holiday. Believe me, it’s a wonderful feeling.
Perhaps part of the allure is the anticipation of an expectant letter, particularly when there is habitual correspondence and you’re waiting for a certain comment, question, answer, or idea, or just waiting to be surprised with its contents.
For this reason, I have obtained a PO Box for the purpose of inviting anyone that wishes, to send me a letter, and I will write one in return. I would like to open up this opportunity to connect on a different level with those that perhaps feel this same appreciation for the handwritten letter arriving by snail mail.
I will have this box for the next three months, after which I am moving and at that time, depending on the response, I will either cease use of or move my address, and will be sure to update accordingly. So please join me in revisiting the lost art of letter writing. My PO Box is:
**UPDATE** At this time, I no longer have a PO Box. I’ve moved and have not yet decided to find another. Thank you for the lovely people that wrote to me!!! ❤ ***
Request encouragement, tell me about your latest project, something you’ve dreamed about, a book you can’t get out of your head, how you feel. Your letter can be about anything, tell me something I don’t know, either about you, or in general. Share something with me, and I will happily share with you.
I will probably check it every week or so when a good day finds me, so seeing a couple of letters would really make the spoons worth it, not to mention absolutely make my day.
I’m looking forward to your letters. 🙂
On that note, I’d also like to share this TEDtalk I recently found that encapsulates my own appreciation and love of letters. Please enjoy Hannah Brencher’s beautiful talk about love letters to strangers.
When is the last time you received or sent a letter in the mail?