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  • Letters
  • It’s been such a long time since I wrote anyone a letter. Come to think of it, I actually can’t remember the last time anyone sent me an actual letter either. These days I don’t even get bills and bank statements in the mail. Anything that comes through my letterbox pretty much goes straight into the recycle bin!

    It’s funny, because we’re really not that far away from a time when the only way I would have been able to have any contact with friends overseas was through letters and the occasional expensive long distance phone call. Now if I want to speak to someone on the other side of the world I just tap out an email, send them a text message, or Skype them. The utility of writing a letter is now referred to as a ‘lost art.’

    I’ve got a few old letters that I’ve saved. They’re buried in a box in a friends loft in London. I’ve kept notes and a few hand written cards too. I don’t think that’s particularly unusual, though I don’t think people keep old emails in the same way. I’ve kept some old emails, they’re archived like those old letters I’ve hung on to. I have one that Steve Wozniak sent to me back in 2000, and a few others from friends. My oldest one is from 1998, but I don’t know of anyone else who has an email that old.

    Ironically while technology allows us to digitally save things, it’s far easier than we might think for digital items to become lost over time, or simply incompatible with newer technology. So it might be that those printed pictures of your younger years that are fading in a box somewhere, could outlast the ones you’re snapping today.

    As for the lost art of letter writing, maybe there’s nothing we can do about that. It seems that we’ve swapped letters for “likes” and outsourced our memory to ‘the cloud.’ Maybe that’s the price of progress? Of course, these days there is a service that will hand write a letter for you, but doesn’t that kind of miss the point?

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  • 7 comments on “Letters

    1. I agree, I recently providing some feedback to my kids school via a paper survey and experienced that ache in the hand from writing, reminded me of the ache you’d get from actually writing upon returning to school after the holidays.

      I remember thinking ‘this would be so much easier online’ and ‘why don’t I scan this and edit in my response’

      • Yeah Phil, I had to fill out a form recently and I found myself looking at my handwriting and thinking that it used to look so much nicer. I also wrote all in caps for some odd reason? Though I was applying for a new Aus driving licence and so I was probably angry inside at the incompetence they will doubtlessly show when they screw up the simple task of mailing that to me 🙂

    2. Great last two 366s. Love the spiral… and the letterbox is simple elegance.

      If I had your address I’d write to you. I make a point of writing to people each month. The response is always great – I think people really love getting an actual letter, it’s just so much more personal.

      So although technology is quicker, simpler… as you implied, letters and hand-written notes do tend to get kept in special places.

      • Thanks Sharon. You know it’s funny, but I had an idea that my letters picture would get a couple of comments. It’s a thing many people wish they could change – having time to sit and write some long letter on some nice paper to someone they care about. I’ve actually been trying to set some time apart to write to the Amish people I met last year, but what with 366, work (ok, not that much work I admit) and social stuff, I never seem to find the time to sit and write that letter. I’ve caved in to the fact that really I need to just tap it out on a keyboard and print it in a nice font on nice paper, but that feels like a failure really. Though lets be honest, it’s better than failing to write at all!

    3. getting real letters from a friend thru post office is a snail mail but it is still worth doing it and receiving it. Isn’t it special especially if it is hand written? it is a priceless effort using ones own hands… i still actually want to try it.

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