I found this paper and I was immediately drawn to it – the color, the texture, but mostly for the nostalgic sense of old, hand written letters it evoked. I could easily begin to imagine an attic full of old love letters from during war times, pencil-written love notes between high school sweethearts, notes from my mother from days gone by and all the way up to the handwritten thank you notes I have my son write for birthday gifts. It’s a chore he begrudges, but I am relentless in making him finish each one – not only for the obvious reason of teaching him the importance of a simple thank you, but for the exercise in writing.
With the type, text and tablets of today, we are hard pressed to sit down to write a handwritten letter very often these days. Most of the holiday cards we received this year were fully imprinted – no handwritten notes. I didn’t even send any this year [Yet! There is still hope for a New Year’s card, or the one I think about every year – a Groundhogs Day card!] so I can’t really get after anyone, but still I realize that something is lost when we take the pen away from the paper.
I am as guilty as the next person; I am to the point where my brain thinks better at the keyboard – I can see the words spilling out, my own thoughts really, more clearly than I can if I pick up a pen to write. Yet, I am still amazed by what shows in a person’s handwriting. My mother had a very distinct, sharp style to her writing, so much so that she was self-conscious about it. She would often ask me to write things for her; saying how nice my handwriting was. Years later, now that she is gone, it is almost like being with her when I come across something she wrote: a recipe or more likely one of the countless notes she wrote to me over the years. She was a fantastic note and letter writer, and I think her handwriting is beautiful.
Not too long ago, I received a handwritten note from a friend with whom I had only exchanged email or text. We saw each other in person often, but never an occasion for something written. I had an immediate reaction to seeing his handwriting; it was almost like seeing an actor play a character from a book I had read, or meeting someone in person that I have only interacted with by phone. I felt that in seeing his handwritten words, I felt even more connected and, that perhaps, I knew him a little bit more.
As the new year approaches, I have the opportunity to write a very personal, very difficult letter to a very important person. This is a letter that will take so much thought, consideration and care. I have drafts of it floating around in my mind; but I need to tie all those virtual scraps together into a caring, sensitive and compelling letter. I may have only chance to write to this person, and I really want to get it right. My comfort zone is to type it, so I can back up, reword, go back, edit, fix, change; whatever it takes to make it perfect. But I won’t. I want this person to know me, even if just a little bit. And what if my handwriting tells her a little bit about me, something that I can’t convey in words? And, what if my handwriting looks just like hers? This letter will be handwritten, without question.
So as the new year is upon us, think of someone you would like to write a letter to; find a nice pen, a note card and get going. You will be glad you took the time, and more importantly, so will the person who is lucky enough to receive your letter. And as you write, think about what your handwriting says about you…Leave a comment and let me know!
May your new year be merry & bright