Raise your hand if you still write letters

It’s silly, we all know. But there are few things that make a day better than getting unexpected mail.

Real mail. With envelopes and stamps. Mail from people we care about. Add extra “happy day” points if it’s written on interesting stationary.

I have my fabulous grad school roommate, Courtney, to thank for encouraging me to write cards more often. One of Courtney’s close friends sent her a card literally every week. I might have been a little jealous! And Courtney was great at sending her own cards, complete with hand–stamped titles or notes.

I decided it was time to get over my laziness of communication, and write people more often. Besides, I told myself. If you’re going to buy pretty cards and stationery, you had better use it.

This is an ADORABLE local company. Click the photo to go to their site.

And use it, I have. There is now a drawer in my desk full of various note cards, stationary, markers, stamps, scrapbook paper and all sorts of fun pieces to make my own cards. Family members have sent me card–making accessories, friends have given me card sets as a gift, and while I don’t send off a note as often as I would like, it happens on a fairly regular basis.

Much to Jon’s distress, I’m not satisfied with a special event card purchase unless it’s sheathed in plastic to protect the glitter and has an $8.00 price tag. Because cards are important. Receiving real mail is important. Knowing someone took the time to write you a real note is important. Important enough for some glitter.

When he realized how much I’d spent on a few of his birthday cards, he made me swear never to give him a card like that again. Alas, beautiful Papyrus cards, you and I will see less and less of each other.

I swoon over Papyrus.

I think our days of endless electronic mail and instant contact has made the craving for real paper with real ink more potent. I know I dread looking at my various inboxes. I am notorious for allowing emails to fall into the e–pit of no return. I expect responses when I send emails, but I literally cringe when I have to reply to others.

To be fair – or horrible – I treat my voice mails and texts the same way. Those pesky voice mails pile up without a listen for weeks. Texts? If I don’t respond the same day, try again. I strongly detest the expectation that I must be accessible at all times. I refuse to be attached to my phone. Unless it’s being charged, it usually stays in my bag, even in the evening when I get home. Somewhat ironically, though, I still manage to get my electronic blog posts out on a semi–regular basis.

Realistically, it could take a week for a letter response – few days to write back, few days in the mail. So, I think it’s fair to take a few days to respond to electronic communication, right? Except that letters sit on my table, so I can’t forget them. Emails or voice mails or texts…. those just have this strange habit of disappearing on me.

Our current communication expectations exist solely because of the instantaneous nature of email and cell phones. I get it; this has become very important. We couldn’t do as much without it; though that begs the question of are we doing, and expecting, too much?

I suppose I just long for, and greatly appreciate, simpler forms of communication. More personal and meaningful methods. So the best way to guarantee a response from me? Put a stamp on a card and drop it in the mail. I’ll always write back. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Raise your hand if you still write letters

  1. I love real mail! My pen-pal relationships are some of the deepest relationships I have. There is something about a blank piece of paper that allows one to expose parts of his/herself accustomed to obscurity.
    Thanks for the perspective!

    • Ditto. Literally just this morning, I saw someone on campus who reminded me of you, and I said a private wish to myself that you were still here.

  2. It’s true, nothing feels like ‘snail mail’. My new year’s resolution was to send more thank you notes and write letters. I try to send someone a card a week. How am I doing? I have sent more cards this year than ever before! and trust me, it’s not once a week. Try it yourself; shock someone they could probably use the surprise!

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