Lost Art of Letter Writing

Many things change with time, but not every thing changes for the better.  One such phenomenon I can think of is the lost art of Letter Writing. 

For years, I have lamented about the fact that the only “mail” I receive (via snail-mail) any more is bills and receipts.  No letters.  None whatsoever. 

Aunts and uncles who used to send out letters once in a while, have switched to email.  Moms and Dads had to, simply to keep pace with their teenage sons and daughters.  Even the greeting cards you used to send out till just a few years ago, have transformed into free e-cards that do their dance on your computer screen, and die a painless death in 90 days or less.

I know, I know.  Electronic communication is so fast and friendly; so instantaneous in delivery.  Who would want to write letters?! 

Now, I love Technology as much as the next guy.  Maybe, even more.  But any one who’s ever received a well-written missive would agree that email could never replace the charm, the magic, of a handwritten note.  The use of appropriate grammar, the unhurried attention to detail, the choice of good stationery on special occassions… even words that were striken or revised would leave their mark on the note, for every reader to see. 

It was almost as if, every time you put pen to paper, you chose to bare your soul to the reader. 

Makes me think that we’re fast losing touch with an art form that was an important part of our heritage, without even pausing to ponder on it… 

In the decades to come, will our children even understand the antiquated practice of actually writing a letter using pen and paper?  Would Abraham Lincoln’s letters gain the legendary status they have, if he’d shot off some emails from his Mac instead?  Most importantly, in the absence of such cultural cues, how will we know what was really important and worth preserving?  What will History be “written” on?!

Worth a thought, isn’t it?

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5 Comments

  1. That brought about so many memories…the ‘inland’ letters and the postcards! In smaller towns and among elderly folk who’re not comfortable with emailing, the very practice of writing (whether on paper OR electronically) has died a slow death, because with mobile phones penetrating the hinterland, long distance calls are no longer as menacing as ‘trunk calls’ used to be!

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