ReConsumerEYES: In Praise of Handwritten Letters

by Lorne Holden The other day my son pulled open a dusty drawer in our front hall. “What is that?” he asked, pointing to a pile of papers. Zounds! They were love letters from an Italian boyfriend. I hadn't seen them in years and hadn't even remembered that I'd saved them but I paused to give them a long and tender look. At this point, I barely remember the boyfriend and this being so, I was struck not so much by the letters' content but by the simple fact that they were handwritten. They weren't just words, they were his words, this long ago love, written in a way only he could write them. With pen and ink. On paper. After reading a few, I realized perhaps I did remember him. Would I have ever had this experience if I had stumbled upon a batch of old emails? I think not. handwritten letter How far we've come from the simple act of writing each other letters! According to the US Postal Service's annual survey, the average home received a personal letter only once every seven weeks back in 2010. My guess is that number is probably down to 1 or zero by now. There has been a cost to this shift away from handwritten communication. Texts and emails sent in a generic font have brought an anonymity to our communication that zaps the individuality out of written expression. Our messages from the Electric Company often arrive in our email looking the same as true words from someone we love. We need an antidote!

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This upcoming Holiday Season, consider writing to the people you love. Yes, writing. Get out that pen, find or make some beautiful paper and send your message in the one way only you truly can – by writing it yourself. Handwritten notes and letters have more power now than ever before, simply because they are so rare. Think of how you feel when you receive a handwritten note, and know that you are creating that warm response in someone else simply by making such a gesture. Sure, sending a handwritten note takes more time. I say: take that time. Whomever you are writing to will know that you took the time and it will be meaningful for them. Write one letter a day. Once you get in the swing and feel how great it feels, the time factor won't be so daunting.

Remember that handwritten messages don't need to be long. (Look below- a postcard from 1906 was addressed on the opposite side and there was only a small space under the photo for a written message.) Even the smallest handful of words written by you and sent from you, can change the day for a beloved recipient. Consider what is at the essence of what you want to say, and simply say it. Words have power. And words sent in your own writing are doubly powerful.Dive in!

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P.S. Don't forget to send your note with a beautiful stamp. There are many available.

Lorne Holden is an artist and author of the bestselling book "MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done" and the creator of LifeBloom - a three week adventure in making things happen.