Daily Archives: January 30, 2012

Write me a letter

Write me a letter. Hand-write me a letter. Send me news of how you are, of how time has passed where you are since the last time you wrote me. Don’t leave me guessing as to what any of it means. I don’t want to have to fill in any blanks, there’s enough blanks in everyday.

Does anyone remember the times when we waited for a letter to come from someone? I mean a handwritten letter delivered to us by the postal service, not an electronic message of sorts that takes less time and often times less thought. A handwritten letter. Someone took the time to grab a pen or pencil, paper, and organize thoughts and/or emotions, writing all along the way, finish it, sign it, fold and mail it. They went to the end of their driveway after incurring the expense of the materials and the postage, made the effort to get the letter out to the street where only a postal worker could take the message from there.

Imagine for a moment that all your communication could be done by writing a letter. Would you have to print the words or could you write it out in cursive handwriting? I am not being facetious here. Cursive writing seems to be less and less important to everyone, each passing year. Kids aren’t learning it anymore, but they are taught how to use a computer right away. I am okay with the computer piece, but why can’t we learn to write our language the way it’s supposed to be written? Is this too grandiose an idea? Future generations will dig and find remnants from this generation and writings won’t be found, the printed word will be found, and the flowing artistic values of the written word will be absent. Anyhow, that wasn’t really the point of this whole piece anyways. Although my mom made sure I could write in cursive, and write it well. I am still glad she did.

Now in the direction of a point to all of this. I received more than 50 emails today, most of which were generic junk. Almost none were typed by anyone with a pulse. Most were a blast of emails going to a large number of people who may have signed up for this, visited that site, or used some product somewhere along the line. That’s okay really because, had I received more than 50 hand written letters today I may have struggled to read them all. But the point is, I would have likely read them all.

If you could only communicate outside of the spoken word, by writing, not printing, letters to people, would the contents of your communication be of higher quality and thought? I bet they would be. Imagine the time it takes to have a two-way text conversation with someone now. Not very long. Not very much thought either. Most text messages, even many emails, are written while the author is mentally engaged in some other thing, if not many other things.

Sit down at the table with your favorite writing utensil and some paper, and write someone. How many thoughts that may be okay to text or email someone would never even make it to that sheet of paper? Probably quite a few. In any event, think on it. Think of the words needed to describe the details you would like to share. How many thoughts does it take to come up with a single sentence or even a paragraph?

That’s the point. We have these amazing minds that God has blessed us with. We use a fragment of them to begin with and then we divide that number again by not being present in our day-to-day communications. If each of us had to give our friends a status update by writing each of them a letter, I bet it would be of better quality, thoughtfulness, and respect than half the garbage we send electronically. Trust me, if I could write this all in cursive to my audience, I would. To me, there’s nothing quite like the flow of the pen (I prefer pens over pencils, but it’s not a deal breaker) on a sheet of paper. Hearing the whisper of the pen’s contact with the paper as the loops, swirls, dots, and slashes come together to form a series of thoughts.

In a time not long ago, the written word was beautiful, flowing and smooth. The language, the command of vocabulary, was equally impressive and the descriptive writing style represented the thought process and effort that went into that unique piece of writing.

Hey, I type, I use spell-check, I text, I email too. Modern conveniences can be great, but they should never replace, diminish, or devalue thought.

The phrase that someone is “hanging on your every word” is every reason why every word deserves the thought necessary to speak, write, or otherwise communicate that word. Words still, and hopefully always will, carry more weight than sticks and stones. That’s just how powerful words are. And when thinking is reduced to reaction of a text or email, which of course is written in one light, but almost always read with the narrative and mindset of the reader, then that’s a recipe for destruction, if not a total breakdown of communication.

I enjoy reading more and more as I get older and my eyes get worse. Go figure. But I do. Anyways, I find that the well-thought out, researched written, words that describe many things I read are amazing. It’s almost like looking at a picture which is worth at least a thousand words, and that may be how many words it takes to paint that picture. If it takes that many words to frame the vision for all who peer at the otherwise blank page, then imagine how many thoughts were formulated to arrive at those words.

Again, the point is; think. Words are powerful. Use the ones that should be used. Dad and Mom used to say, “If you don’t have something nice to say …” Same thing here. If you don’t have something thoughtful to say, then think until you do. Make it count. The recipient may have had the toughest hours of their life just when your words hit their phone or email account. So, were those the words you wanted to share? Describe the day, the feeling, the thought you had, dig into the depths of your mind and describe it. All of us have emotional ties to descriptions that we use in the truest stories we ever choose to share. Write it out. Write them out. As you write you may be surprised at how many emotions, how many details, how many alternative lines of thought, could have come into play had there been more thought at that time.

I am guessing also that whomever you write to will receive the written word with more weight on its meaning, thoughtfulness, and degree of respect than just about any other form of communication. Choose carefully as there just may be someone on the other end who is hanging on your every word. And that combination of words could be a series of blows to their psyche or it could be the elevation of a pedestal ‘neath their feet that they feel with each written word.

Words are where we can go when we have a vision and the thought process to go after it. Words are the picture we paint when there is no brush. Words are the weapons we possess but may have never been taught their power, both good and bad. If eyes are a window to the soul, then words are the bricks and mortar that are used to house the window. Think it over, pull a favorite memory from the annals of your mental filing system, and write me a letter.