Letter writing by hand is a lost art.
In an age of digital swiping, likes and emoji’s, putting pen to paper is considered so last century! But I miss it – both the writing and especially the receiving.
There is something visceral about a hand written letter; it requires the will to make the effort to sit and be still for a few minutes or more, to concentrate and compose, unaided by ‘Alexa’ or auto-correction. It’s an ongoing conversation, into which we can ease ourselves, share more of our feelings than we may be willing to risk face to face. It’s the passing of a moment from the sender to the recipient, bearing not only a postmark but the hallmarks of our personality, our quirks and flaws scribed in ink.
During the First and Second World Wars letters were emotional lifelines, the only means of communication between family and friends. They were precious, longed for and savoured, read and re-read, kissed and cried over. The physical nature of the letter was as important as the words it conveyed, a small but tactile presence which was able to transcend the dividing miles, transporting the author into the private domain of the recipient. Letters which were so precious they were often kept for years, the faded handwriting belying the central role they played in so many lives.
In today’s instant society where even greeting cards are sent digitally is there still a place for a hand written letter ? We are once again embracing the audible richness and variety of vinyl and the depth and perception of photographic film both of which transcend the sterile perfection of digital. I would love to think that for personal messages at least letter writing can enjoy a similar revival.
‘Letter Home’ mixed media original painting available from Rebecca Pells Fine Art