I like to write.
I don’t really discriminate, articles, thoughts on books, recipe recaps and even sometimes the dreaded essay. I’ll write it all. Letters, however, are my favorite form of writing by far.
When I was a kid I was enthralled with books that were narrated through long webs of letters, they seemed so much more exciting than ordinary chapter books. They could be historical, fantasy or even realistic fiction; it didn’t really mater. I also adored any manner of book that was narrated as a journal, Amelia’s Notebook for example. Throughout my life I have tried many times, pretty much all unsuccessfully, to keep a diary. I can never seem to muster up enough enthusiasm to be able to get through a single notebook. Writing letters, however, now that’s something I can make time for.
Now that I’m at university, I finally have a real reason to write letters. Sure, I’ve always sent postcards to friends and family when away on vacation an cajoled unsuspecting new friends into being my pen pal, but those things feel different. Sending a post card from abroad feels like an obligation sometimes, knowing right well that you’ll be telling the recipient everything sooner than they could ever possibly receive the card.
Writing letters to my parents and friends from England feels a bit more purpose driven. Yes, I’ll probably tell my parents everything I’ve written before the letter arrives, but you cannot beat the excitement of seeing a foreign postmark arriving in the mail. Plus, you’ll always know when it’s your letter in the post, bearing that distinctive foreign stamp.
Despite all the books I had as a child on writing exciting letters and crafting envelopes out of maps and wrapping paper, mine aren’t that creative. A sheet of nice stationary and a coordinating envelope. Sometimes a colored pen, sometimes the nearest pen, sometimes a pencil. It doesn’t matter.
Try it. This weekend, right now, in two days or in three months; take some time out of your oh-so-busy schedule to sit down and write a letter. Maybe it will be to yourself, maybe it will be to a family member or maybe it will be to a long-lost friend living in Ohio. Just write. Pause and think for a moment. Tell them about yourself, ask questions, there are no rules. You may even find yourself feeling a little happier, a little closer and a little freer after committing your words to paper to share with someone else.
I have a feeling you’ll enjoy that exercise. In fact, I promise you will.
Do you like writing letters? What kind of books did you enjoy as a kid?
p.s. and it took me forever to find those links, feeling a bit older right now…