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The Lure of An Old Fashioned Letter

Pen-and-paper

by Yvonne DiVita

As a young girl in high school, my notebook was always bulging. The papers it contained had many a scribbled note or poem or story I'd started the day before, on it. The print was smudged, because I insisted on using pencil, in those bygone days of my  youth. Oh the lure of a freshly sharpened pencil, in all its pointy glory! Dare I admit that I would open that small pencil box, full of 12-15 newly sharpened pencils, and gaze at it in longing, all day long, as I trudged through the halls of my high school, never noticing much, so focused on getting home to work on my 'story' or poem, or ... my novel! 

No Starbucks for me. Starbucks did not exist. Perhaps there were coffee shops I might have frequented, perhaps there were diners where I could have slipped unnoticed into a corner booth, bought a cup of coffee for .25 (yes, .25)... or a Coke for a dime, and scribbled away to my heart's delight. But, I was not aware of any near my small suburban home. And, I had to be 'home' anyway. Oh, let us not get into that!

Instead, let us get back to the pen and paper, or rather, my pencils and my paper. Woe be it to any blank sheet of paper, whenever I was near...and had access to my pencils. I was never at a loss for the written word. I craved books and stories and poetry and I took each sunrise as an indication that I should rise to write, and then write some more!

And... then... somewhere along the way... in some universe I know not of, the world changed. It took away the paper and the pencils. It introduced computers. I found myself tapping keys to create my words. I found myself checking a software program for grammar and spelling mistakes (though I have never relied on such programs... I still do my own checking and I still have my Thesaurus at my side); I lost the wonder of those pencils, those hundreds and hundreds of new, white pages, waiting for my voice... the very touch and feel of pen in hand. 

One cannot blame computers entirely. One must own up to the fact that she got married and had kids and lost track of her writing. And, she got used to working on a 'tool'... so much so, that it became foreign to grasp pen in hand and use it properly. The girl she was, the girl obsessed with writing, was buried beneath years of 'other stuff'. 

Girl writing

It has been many, many years since I gave writing the devotion it deserves. I spend time these days creating business content and sharing marketing skills, for women, primarily, yet, of late... in these early mornings when the grass shines with dew, and the sun slips over the treetops, peeking in my office window to welcome yet another Colorado day; when the quiet hugs my brain, tickling me to do something productive, I find myself wondering if I could return to days of old. I imagine holding pen in hand. I imagine that blank page waiting for my scribbles. I feel a smile on my face, a song in my heart, a peace that does not come with typing on a ... machine.

Can I do it? If so, what will it be?

My muse enters and tells me to start by writing a letter. One letter. Not one letter of the alphabet. Rather, a letter to a person. A handwritten letter, a personal note, on stationery, perhaps. A note to say, Hi, I'm thinking of you. Placed, at last, in an envelope and mailed with a stamp, the contents a page or two of my inner thoughts, shared with someone important. 

How quaint, one thinks to herself. As this note on Buzzfeed says, there is an "emotional immediacy" to the handwritten, old fashioned letter.

And yet, in her heart of hearts, she knows this is necessary. The lure of an old fashioned letter is so strong, it must happen. It must be created. It will open up marvels lost to the ordinary world of computing. It will bring back the art of writing. It will connect people to people, and not software programs to people. It will inspire sharing. Oh the joy of it! Written words that build memories with a flourish, a flair, a soul.

I will do it.

Will you? 

Comments

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Tiffany's Diamond Dogs

I really hope 'old-fashioned' handwritten letters and notes never go out of style. Just like I hope printed books are never fully replaced by their electronic equivalents.

Robbi

I still have a pen pal and would love to have more. There is nothing better than opening the mailbox and having a letter. I subscribe to a newsletter that comes to my mailbox six times a year, it is reminiscent of a church bulletin in its style and I LOVE it. I lose myself in it for a couple of hours each time it comes. The woman who does it makes it so personal that it feels like a handwritten note.

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