Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Art of Letter Writing

Having left a comment on a blog that I have recently started following with regards to sending Christmas Cards and led on to the discussion of writing letters and fountain pens got me thinking, how many of you out there still write letters?  If you do what is your writing instrument of choice?

Mine is definitely writing with a fountain pen.  There is something special about writing with ink and nib, the pen seems to flow much more smoothly over the page and I love how it looks.  I had a very special fountain pen that I always used, but unfortunately DS2 got hold of it one day and it is now ruined.  I have a new 'cheaper' one that does the job, but would really like to get another special one some day.  Perhaps that is what I could have asked  for Christmas!

I have always written letters and had pen friends as a very young child, through my teenage years and into my early twenties.  I used to always write thank you letters and letters to relations and friends.  Sadly over the years this letter writing has diminished somewhat as perhaps the advent of it being easier to keep contact through phone, emails etc...   I still find something rather special though about receiving a good old fashioned letter, opening it and reading the wonderful hand written pages.  The sheer act of putting pen to paper and taking the time to sit down and write means just that little bit more I think.  It is not done enough in my mind.

Sadly I find letter writing rather a painful process nowadays so don't do it as often as I should and this is rather sad really.  I still send letters, but they are mostly of the typewritten variety - or rather done on the computer. This is not my preferred form of medium, however it makes it easier for me, and far less painful without the resulting flare up I get when having hand written a letter.  The letter is still sent with love and feeling and good will, but I still feel it is missing that little extra something.

I remember taking a couple of aerogramme letters to the post office a few months ago - they were rather shocked as hadn't seen one in years!  I like this form of letter - postage is already prepaid and was a handy way of sitting down and writing a letter - not too long, and not too short.  Once bought you can sit and write your letters and you don't have to queue up at the Post Office to send it.  I hadn't used one in a number of years it seems (which is why I checked), but fortunately they were still valid and I do believe they got to their destinations...At least I am hoping they did, thinking about it I am not sure I got a reply from one of the people I sent one to!

I do worry though that the art of letter writing is dying out.  We were taught in school how to write letters, both personal and official, although by then I had already learnt from my parents.  Nowadays I don't think any youngsters are taught how to write letters.  I taught my boys, but they certainly didn't learn at school.  A lot of people I would think would find it difficult to write a 'proper' letter, if some of the emails and texts I see are anything to go by! 

Would love to know others thoughts on this.


  1. I have had the same thoughts as you and even wrote a post about it once though I can't remember just when and I got an enormous response from people who said the same. There is something about holding in one's hand the piece of paper that the writer held in their hands just a short while ago and I have several friends with whom I exchange occasional proper letters as well as writing e-mails. I know that e-mails. texts, telephone calls and other forms of communication all have their place and could be argued to be more eco friendly as no paper is needed, no trees cut down, no petrol used in their transport and so on but there is just a certain something about the real thing which can be savoured in the garden, over a cup of tea, in bed anywhere really in a way that other forms of contact cannot. I also love to re-read mine and save them for another day too. What will there be when the technology disappears to let other generation know how we lived, loved and what we enjoyed etc? Sorry seem to have gone off on one as they say!

  2. I, too, use a fountain pen to write snail mail. In fact I have a collection of them. I agree that the loss of the written word on paper is likely to be a huge loss to the future understanding of people. I have letters going back more than fifty years from a friend who emigrated to Canada (we are still very close) and letters to and from my Mother (I lived two days travel away from my parents from the age of 30). I could go on but will spare you. The long and short is that there will never be a real replacement for the written letter because of the ethereal nature of electronic communication.


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