Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You've Got (Real) Mail

In a recent blog post, I wrote about the lost art of note writing, and mailing letters. In response, a reader agreed that it’s so wonderful to get mail that isn’t a bill or a catalog, and it reminded me to bring up this discussion again. Really, in the age of status updates, tweets, and texting, we have surpassed the process of putting pen to paper. We don’t even spell correctly. We either rely on spell check to help us, or write “u” for “you”, “4” for “for” and other things. “Wht r u doin 2day?” We completely butcher our beautiful language.

Writing letters, notes, cards, postcards is so important. Yes, it’s nice to get an email from someone, or a text that says “I love you” but isn’t it much nicer to have it in handwriting? When my grandmother passed away, I looked at old cards she gave me because her handwriting reminded me of everything I loved about her. The way she smelled, the clothes she wore, how she shrugged when she got a compliment.  Outside of hearing her voice on old messages, this was the closest I’d come to her since she’d died. She’d held those cards, written those words on paper that I was now holding. What beats that?

Fabulous, belated birthday card, hand-written, available at K is for Calligraphy on etsy.

Suffice it to say that I am a major card writer. I write postcards, note cards, send love letters.  Ask Ward, and he will tell you. He is bombarded with mail from me on a near weekly basis. After I host parties, I like to send my guests thank you (for coming) notes, which makes him laugh since I was the host. But for me, the joy is as much in the sending as it is in the receiving. For my recent campfire party, I wrote thank you notes on the cards shown below:

Campfire flat notes by Pink Bathtub Designs, available on etsy

Which brings me to stationary. Do you remember when we used to use stationary that was personalized? I bought embossed stationary with my last name on it when I first got married. I spent a couple hundred dollars on it, and it made perfect sense. I don’t see people doing that much anymore. And though I no longer use Palisi stationary, I do have tons of note cards and postcards that I adore. I have an old desk – my grandfathers – that was given a face-lift by Andrea at Savannah Hope Vintage, which is now my letter- writing hub. On it is a letter opener with an anchor detail, and a little metal carry-all that used to have small herbs in it which now holds strips of stamps, and letter seals.

 Thank You seals, also from K is for Calligraphy

I buy note cards that are either unique or have meaning. I used to buy them at Home Goods because they were cheap, but then I realized that I was undervaluing them. This is not to say I don’t buy any at Home Goods; I do, if I like them. Mostly, though, I buy them either on vacation or on etsy. Etsy has tons of homemade note cards. I don’t prefer those that are done on the computer, graphic-y ones that are a dime a dozen. I like the ones that are screen printed or stamped. Ward has done note cards from some of his photographs; a series of Mountain Lakes cards, and a set with his well-known downtown Denville photo on the front. I love them because the images are both familiar and beautiful.

Ward's beautiful note cards. Available at Ward Vogt Designs on etsy.

I really enjoy searching through stamps, too, at the post office, to make the whole envelope look nice (it is partly about the package, no?) For my campfire thank yous (that had campfires on them), I bought Scouting stamps. It pulls the theme together nicely. Why not make things as nice as you can?

Most often, I use my grandmother’s old rubber stamper to ink a blessing onto each envelope. It says:

Dear letter, go upon your way
Over mountain, plain or sea.
God bless all those who speed your flight
To where I wish you to be.

The act of letter writing is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly and should be done often. Think back to when our grandparents sent letters to their friends, just to see how they were doing. It was really, very nice. I urge you all to start sharing your birthday wishes, love messages, friendly hellos, miss yous, and thanks via letters instead of through a form of technology. 

If you are on facebook, join the letter writing movement here:

Facebook's version of Slow Food, the Slow Word movement.

1 comment:

  1. U R Amazing! (wink)
    Thank you so much for featuring some of my stationery treats! This is such a lovely post and important reminder that hand written note transcends the urgency of the virtual word.
    xo, Katy