Monday, January 22, 2007


When is the last time you received a letter? I mean a real letter in your mailbox. I'm not talking about a Christmas or Birthday card, but a hand written letter. It's almost a lost art in this modern day of electronic messaging. I get stuff forwarded to me all the time...a joke from my sister, a link from a co-worker, a short video from a friend but usually the words are scarce..."You'll Love This!!" or maybe "An Oldie But a Goodies." We find the time to check our email and forward on what's amusing, shocking, interesting and sad but we rarely find the time to jot a personal note to go along with it.
Most everyone you speak with about this practice says "I'm just so busy, I don't have time to write." Sometimes that may be true, but I'm not sure sure that we haven't become a little lazy.
I wrote a letter to a friend of mine a few years ago on stationary with a blue ink fountain pen. It was her birthday and I wanted to let her know how much she meant to my wife Jilda and me. She later told me that she cried as she read the letter. I've since heard another person say how moved they were when they received a letter from a friend. I know that I personally enjoy getting letters but I never realized that receiving one could be so moving to someone.
As I sit here and consider my words, it occurred to me that it's because the act of writing a personal letter to a friend or lover takes time, thought, and effort. When I write letters, I search for the right words that convey what I'm thinking or feeling. I keep a dictionary and thesaurus handy for reference. My brain is not a good spellchecker.
I made a decision at the first of this year that I would write letters to the special people in my life. To do it up right you need some stationary and a good pen...I prefer a fountain pen. When I looked for stationary I had no idea how much it costs these days. Office Depot had some nice stationary with envelopes for twelve dollars. I'm sure you could spend a great deal more at specialty shops but I'm pretty sure that if you want to write a personal letter to a friend, they would not be offended if it was written on yellow legal paper.
In years past, letter writing was the preferred method of communication. In fact I've learned during my studies of history that most of the really interesting facts and stories that show up in the historical record come from personal letters. The letters of poets, authors, musicians, scientists and politicians often make up the most interesting body of their work because it provides a window through which you can glimpse something deeper and more personal than what you get from more official communications.
Let's all make a commitment to write more personal letters this year. Feel free to send one to me at:
Rick Watson
310 Stacks Bottom Rd.
Empire, Alabama 35063

I will post the letters I receive on this blog.

1 comment:

  1. Rick!! Rick!! You're soliciting fanmail. LOL. I will be interested to see what response you get to this post. And Empire is actually a place. There I was thinking it was a fanciful name for the farm.


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