Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The lost art of letter writing

... is found again.

Ever since I opened my new Letter of the Month subscription service, I've taken a greater interest in the "reverse" technology of letter writing.


But first, a quick background. I am of the last generation of letter writers. The Internet began at the tail end of my university days. Up until then, I still wrote letters home and religiously checked the mailbox in my dorm. My letters did a reverse commute at the end of the term as I whittled away summer days at home writing to friends from university.

And then email showed up.

My first email was provided by the university and was really convenient to rattle off:

janicemacleod93161837@humanities.universityofwaterloo.on.ca.

I traded it in for a hotmail account. Once, I wanted to show my fellow students this new thing called Hotmail but I made the mistake of typing hotmale.com. This was an embarrassing moment... or should I say em-bare-assing moment.

Go ahead. Do it. I'll wait.

...

See? I told you so. The site is still "up" after all these years. Blush.

Over a dozen email addresses and years later, I've settled on gmail. And even gmail has taken a backseat to connecting by leaving a comment or clicking Like on Facebook. Don't get me wrong. All this technology is wonderful and amazing. I'm a fan. I can poke like the best of them ("insert" "hotmale" joke here). But there is something I continue to crave about sending and receiving paper mail.

Turns out, I'm not the only one:
  • Post a Letter Social Activity Club is a group that meets frequently in a cafĂ© to dedicate time to taking care of correspondence of the paper variety. It started in Toronto and has spread to dozen more cities.
  • Apple Cards app lets you upload a photo and write a message. Apple turns it into a card and sends it for you. Their advertising states simply, "You make it. We'll send it. They'll love it."
  • Letters in the Mail is a subscription service where you receive letters from famous authors. Photocopying is involved, but who cares? I reprint my painted letters that I send out, too. Otherwise, they'd cost more than your average cappuccino. Both services are mere $5 a month for an envelope of awesome. Cheap. 
When I explained my new enterprising letter writing business to Christophe, he paused and said, "So it's for joy."

Exactly.

For the fun of it because getting something in the mail that isn't junk or a bill is just plain joyful. And for me? Creating it and sending it is all about joy, too.

Joy + Joy = Joy

Putting the final touches on my February Letter of the Month.
Joy Joy Joy!

5 comments:

  1. I can hardly wait for my next letter,your grandma Demaiter used to look foreward so much to get a letter from Belgium that she told the postmam honk the horn when a letter arrives so she would run out to get it from the mailbox

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  2. I'm with you on the letter writing. I was taught, actually, by my Grandma who wrote letter after letter at her Governor Winthrop desk. You'll be glad to hear that my mom carries on this tradition. Writing letters of encouragement each quarter -- 120 or so, to a group of men involved in a service project in Compton. Ah, the written note.
    I love your letters from, they look beautiful.
    Write!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love that there is Post A Letter Society! I am going to tell my dad to join! He still writes letters (and makes cards!) for everyone and loves it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You've inspired me to do something special for certain friends this Valentine's Day. Ya little joy purveyor, you. :)

    ReplyDelete

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