“The proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters.” - Lewis Carroll
“How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.” - Haruki Murakami
“Every body at all addicted to letter writing, without having much to say, which will include a large proportion of the female world at least…” - Jane Austen (Haha!)
That's what they have to say - here's why I do it.
Writing a letter is a great excuse to sit down, drink tea and concentrate on only one thing for awhile.
I put this reason first because it is my favorite reason. When else can you sit down and be completely silent and absorbed in one thing for half an hour on a busy homestead? The tea is a bonus. A lot of times I include one individually wrapped tea bag in the envelope I am sending off, just to share the love and make someone sit down for a little bit.
Letter writing is therapeutic and thought-provoking.
It is! Writing letters makes you look back on your week or day and evaluate the good moments. When I am writing a letter I always find myself looking back on a project or time and making it into a great story to share with other people. I find that very, very enjoyable and I know I love to read accounts of other people's adventures and/or misadventures.
Exchanging letters with a pen pal is a great way to keep children occupied with an educational and worthwhile project.
When I was little, I had a pen pal, and I will never forget her. She was a woman in her mid forties at the time and she took the time to write back to every scribbled letter I sent her way. She was my first pen pal and I like to think that the letters we exchanged way back then helped to instill in me a love of writing, storytelling and traditional communication skills. I have had countless pen pals since then, and each one has been a gift and a blessing in those times of my life that they graced. So get your child a safe pen pal and count it toward their English grades. I learned how to spell, correctly and comprehensively write with a pencil, fold a letter according to envelope size, and the parts that should be in every letter. Those are priceless and never forgotten skills, much like making beds and setting tables.
Receiving a handwritten letter brightens someone else’s day instantly.
You know how it feels to get a letter in the mail. Heck, I get excited about bank statements sometimes. (Don't judge.) So make someone's day. Decorate the envelope and write the person's name in fancy handwriting. You will truly be sending smiles across the miles.
Knowing proper letter composition and etiquette is important.
I mentioned this before, but I will mention it here again. Learning about how letters should be written is not snobbish or weird. It is interesting and important. Moving away from the more recent forms of communication like Facebook, emailing, and texting is a big step in our march Off Grid and in our moving toward a more sustainable and traditional style of living. Letter writing is a huge component of any off grid community, close or scattered across the miles.
Keeping up your handwriting skills is a golden habit.
Let's all be honest. Our handwriting could use some work since Mr. Zuckerburg made typing a much bigger part of our lives. I type everything I write professionally, and I find that it kind of numbs me to the actual worth of a word. Writing what I write on paper with a pen would make the whole of my work much, much more precious and dear to me. So imagine what writing a letter would be worth. It takes longer, requires more effort and skill, and is really more valuable in the long run, no matter what they told us in typing class. On this train of thought, maybe I will write something about my love for journaling someday, an even more important practice in the eyes of a farm girl with big hopes like myself.
It gives you something to look forward to.
Just like you have made someone smile when they find your profession of friendship and love in their mailbox, finding a letter for yourself is just a downright joyful experience. I'm not a Nazi about people writing back, but when they do it really makes my day, I tell you. It pays to write letters.
It is personal, kind and touching to know that someone took the time to write you a letter.
Now as you are reading this you might be laughing because you are a mother or a busy farmer or a person with a career. How would you ever find the time? I understand. My pen pals will be quick to add that I am an "on again off again" letter writer and I should probably not be preaching about it. Okay, fine. I of all people know that it isn't feasible to keep up a weekly correspondence when you have a house/farm/job to run. But the next time it is someone's birthday, anniversary or you really would like to reach out to them, just write them a note! Not everything has to be a well compiled, pages-long, eloquent letter. Just buy one of those $1.00 packages of "Hello!" notes at the drugstore, and use them to just say hi, instead of a Facebook message, text or email. I promise it will mean so much more to that person.
Writing letters is an ancient practice and an elegant skill.
Yeah, yeah. We've been over that.
It creates priceless keepsakes that can be compiled and looked back upon on lazy Saturday afternoons.
I have a box on my dresser - a large box - full of letters that I have been compiling for 7 years now. I actually have two boxes, but I can't tell you where the other one is at the moment. Anyways, don't throw away letters once you get them! They are priceless pieces of nostalgia a few years down the road. Maybe that's just me, but I love going back over old letters. It is like going into a time machine and seeing what you were talking about, what was happening and what was important back then. I know, I know, 7 years isn't ages, but it is about 1/3 of my age at the moment, so work with me here.
As always, this is my opinion on the matter.
Maybe, perhaps I have inspired someone to write a letter! This seems like a good place to give you this:
1251 CR 132
Santa Anna, Texas
Just in case. :)