This may be the second time I'm writing about this particular topic.. But an article in a magazine I read recently has reminded me why I have always loved writing letters. It was probably written by someone of a generation older than me and even so, I could still connect to what she was saying. This is partly what she said:
"We communicate differently when we e-mail or text, both methods characterised by speed and informality. The meditative consideration, which accompanied a handwritten letter, is almost entirely absent. We may be communicating more frequently and with more people, but the depth and quality of our communication has diminished." (Frieman, 2011)
I think for me, this "love affair" with writing began many eons ago, when I started to keep a diary. And boy did I write.. So passionate was I that I could get so detailed when writing about what happened in a day. Of course there were those pivotal moments where I wrote reflective entries and poured my heart out.. I think I still keep some of those diaries.. Hmm.. reading them again must be hilarious =)
Being one who was often away from home, of course writing letters was THE way to go.. I wrote to friends and family, and.. it was reciprocal! That was one of the best parts.. getting a reply! :D The best part too wasn't just the writing, but also the process before writing- choosing the right paper and pen..
What made it special was really how `personal' one could get when writing. From the handwriting to the feelings evoked in the words chosen..
If writing diaries or journals or blogs (these days) is a "means of processing feelings and filtering experiences".. writing, in the literal sense, is something else.. I totally get what the writer of the article was saying when she became "addicted to the flow of thoughts that came with the physicality of handwriting"..
I know, I know.. it's 2011. Move with the times, save trees, save time (so just email/ facebook/sms/ ym/ skype).. but seriously, reading a letter WRITTEN to you gives you a different kind of satisfaction, from the moment you find the letter on your doorstep - or your postbox (in most cases) till the time you get to Sincerely yours..
But of course I do still appreciate the long messages I get in my inbox (facebook or email).. I can write/type long messages (online)to people too sometimes.. but of course at times I also just want to be brief and concise = impersonal, so short messages it is..
In short, the article stressed that "the value of writing is no longer obvious".. and "with the demise of `pen and paper', an exceptional mode of self-expression is being lost"..
I know people write in exams but .. writing a letter to a REAL person far from home is seriously a different experience! I recently made 2 people happy (i think) after writing a letter to them (in London and India). After years of leaving behind this favourite pastime, the best part was WRITING those letters! So what are you waiting for, go ahead and try it!
ps/ I used to have stacks of old letters kept in a box and I'd read them sometimes.. ;)
a tip to prepare for IB English B Paper 2: WRITE!