09 August, 2011

Why Hold On To The Pen & Paper?

Eden proudly showing off a letter she received in the mail!
Lately I've been wondering how many people out in the world actually write pen and paper letters anymore.  Since living overseas, I'll admit, communicating has been quick and easy with relatives and friends back home using text and email and Skype, but we still find ourselves sending a post card here and there for fun.  A postcard you can keep, you can stick it on your fridge for a bit to remember the sentiment, you can stick it in a box of keepsakes, you can hold it, touch it, and actually use that tin box in your front yard for something.  My fridge, way over here in the Middle East, is plastered with birth announcements, photos, drawings and cards from friends and family back home.  I love it...it's personal.  They took the time to write us...with a pen.

In speaking with some people, they feel that e-mail just says I don't care enough about you to sit down and write from the heart.  Instead, its about writing from the head, in the moment, and off to the next task.  Having been guilty, like many people, we send off e-mails in the heat of the moment that we wish we could recall later.  A letter, you write, you address it, and then still have time to reconsider before mailing it.  We now live in a world with an I-want-it-now-and-I-want-it-instantly mentality.

I'm reminded of the movie My Best Friend's Wedding, the scene where Julia Roberts types an email in haste, saves it to mull over, but it's sent out anyway...eventually ruining her friend's career.  Email is just so easy to push "send".  Texts are even faster and with fewer words!  But, let's face it, most of the world is emailing and texting, and it's the quickest way to chat back and forth.  To me, that's all the more reason to hold on to the pen & paper.  And no, it doesn't count to type the letter in your Word program, print & send.  Write it with a pen..haven't you ever loved someone's style of writing?  The curves or the block writing, or the little hearts or swirls they added?  I love to look at people's writing.  It's so personalized, unique, artistic.
More cards sent overseas...hand written!

What are the downsides of email, text messaging and instant messaging? People who are good writers with great use of grammar, etc, can turn into some of the laziest people when they sit down at a computer or send a text message. Grammar goes out the window along with spelling, punctuation, and correct capitalization. Now, I know I make mistakes when I am writing my blog posts, but at least I am writing, taking time, thinking it through, reviewing it before sending.  I want to communicate with you.

What about the generation of kids who might never write a letter to someone, licking the stamp, and putting it in the mailbox?  How sad that makes me.  My kids love writing letters.  Granted, they are quite small, so it usually consists of a few words and a big picture, but they love knowing they are making it for someone and sending it in the mail.  I'm trying to keep that alive in them. I try to have them send something home every so often, or in a package.

I'm not perfect by any means.  I'm a texter, emailer, Skyper, and dare I say it, addicted Facebooker.  However, I do still write notes, cards, postcards and other greetings.  I like it.  I even journal.  I guess I'm just hoping that the pen & paper will not die out.  That there's enough of us out there who still enjoy letter writing.  That we can somehow keep it alive.  If not for your generation, for the ones following you.  I know I need to get better at it...for my kids sake.

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