Let us all then leave behind letters of love and friendship, family and devotion, hope and consolation, so that future generations will know what we valued and believed and achieved. ~Marian Wright Edelman, foreword from Letters to a Nation
Several years ago, I embarked on a rather large adventure of reading the letters that John and Abigail Adams wrote to each other. I read the ones in this book, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams, and then searched for many others online. I sat every night, spellbound, as I marveled at the discipline, love and skill it must have taken to write those volumes of letters. I was completely inspired and thankful, to be the heir of such a generous legacy.
It sparked a love and interest for handwritten notes that still lives on in me. I LOVE the beauty of the written word and I always am writing things down in my daily journal. As much as I love and use my computer, nothing will ever replace pen and paper for me. And I only use one certain kind of pen—so to avoid the horrors of writing with a bad pen. I have five or six of them in my purse, ten or so in my car, a few at my desk, and two by my bed. Penless, I shall never be. Sadly, I have regrettable handwriting, or at least that’s what my kids tell me. One thing is for sure, I make large, flowery letters and have a barely legible signature. But, I do have an incurable love for writing with a pen and I think it’s a lost art that we would do well to recover.
I do much less handwriting than I used to but I still love sending and receiving hand-written notes. Every year at Christmas and birthdays, I usually take a little time and write my kids a love letter. I remind them how much I love them and I like to name specific qualities about them that I admire. By far, the most special part of the process is that it’s in my hand-writing. And I feel the same way when I receive hand written notes. They are special and far too rare.
I have a little gem of a book called, The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication. The author says,
Corresponding on paper lets you elevate a simple pleasure into an art form. And art has always survived technology. A handwritten note is like dining by candlelight instead of flicking on the lights, like making a gift instead of ordering one, like taking a walk instead of driving. When you write a note, you are giving yourself to the reader in the most civilized way.”
With the onslaught of digital everything, most of us are out of the practice of handwriting. But this beautiful form of art and expression is never dated and never loses it charm. And how many of us shuffle through our mail everyday, in hopes that maybe there’s one or two things handwritten? I always open those first. So, make someone’s day and handwrite them a note!
Challenge Day 13: Now, it’s time to write a note. First, search around and find your best pen and some paper or stationary. Next, find a comfortable, well-lit spot to write. Then, write a letter to your spouse or to each of your children—being sure to include the date, time, a loving greeting, and meaningful, heartfelt sentiments. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, just a few sentences expressing yourself in love to someone. If you’re more inclined toward the artistic side of letter writing, consider some calligraphy pens and good stationary. A few years ago, I bought some calligraphy pens and handwrote all my Christmas cards. It was so much fun to give and my family and friends were happy to receive them.
Be sure to read Ruth’s corresponding post, Less Email.