The Art of Writing Letters

I profess no great skill in the art of letter writing.  I’m speaking here not of business letters but personal letters to friends and relatives.  My mother had this down cold.  As a child and a teen I would watch her sit every evening and while the rest of world was watching television she was writing letters – likely one per evening – to friends and relatives across the world. 

Her letters were a joy to receive – they were full of news of her life.  Mom moved to Denmark and lived there for 20 years.  In that time I felt that I knew personally her friends and new family.  Over time I learned who was related to who(or whom) and had a pretty good estimate as to how far everyone lived from one another.  Likes and dislikes etc.  Her letters were long and newsy.

Through Facebook and Twitter I feel like I have become a voyeur.  So, lacking paper, pen and stamps I’ve moved one step back and have started working my rusty letter writing skills into emails.  “We went here” “We went there”  “We visited Aunt Hannah” “We had to fix a flat tire”. 

The thing with getting a real letter or newsy email, you know that the person who wrote it did so because they minimally like you or more likely cherish you as a friend.  It is such a great feeling to send or receive a great newsy letter (or in my case, email).

So, pick someone and start telling them as an individual the boring and not so boring parts of your life.  Personally, I would love to get a letter from any of my kids with a photo and some news of how they sat around all day Sunday with Bob, Jim, Andrea and Andy watching the football game without any nachos because Andy thought Andrea was going to pick them up.

One thing me mum said regarding this was “NEVER wait for the other person to communicate”.  Always start and if they don’t reply, send another one.  One day they will write or call or something.  Know that they love getting your emails.  I know this as I used to send newsy mail blasts about family stuff and after 5-6 years one of my friends that I had pretty much never heard from told me in an email that it was one of the highlights of his year getting my news.

So, try it.  Write a letter(or an email) of some length to a friend or relative and see what happens.

Posted by Martin Jones

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