Blog,  Musings

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

During the holidays I finally sorted and organised years of accumulated paper memorabilia. Cards from important events such as; birthdays, Christmases, our Wedding, sympathy, baby congratulations (easier to sort when newborn’s name is specified). A tangible family history, most treasured were re-reading cards with meaningful messages.

Then there was a smaller collection of letters.  Love notes from our courting days, cards from our engagement months, letters exchanged throughout our married life, a handful of letters from friends and relatives (mostly my sister:) and the jackpot were my grandmother’s letters.  My departed grandmother was a prolific writer and wrote many words of wisdom to me after our marriage.  It was such a joy to re-read her letters, most beautiful of all was to re-discover a letter she wrote to our firstborn son on his 1st birthday.  I have tucked that away to share with him on his 21st:)

As I created order, praying for those who had touched our lives; some briefly, some for a longer period and some who are still a part of our lives,  I pondered upon the power of the written word, “the pen is mightier than the sword”. The written word has a mighty strength to bolster, or to wound (I found a few of those too), the power of the written word lingers far after being penned.

Interestingly, the majority of our memorabilia was from the earlier years of our marriage; not only do your first two children receive more cards than subsequent children;) but the exchange of written mail has dramatically reduced in the last twelve years.  I know I am guilty of this myself, my first choice of communication today is to phone or email rather than write.   Whilst all forms of communication have valid roles, finding my bundle of letters has prompted some contemplation.  With Anna Maria away at College I’ve been inspired to take up the lost art of letter writing.

*Visit Jen to view her eye-catching stationery basket.

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  • Anonymous

    Why post by surface mail when you can email instantaneous and know they'll get it? (and if they don't get it you can send it again) Take the same care and attention to your emails and the same message gets read at the other end in a more timely and often searchable/ recovery way later down the track.(whether someone flags/ tags/ stores or prints out your email to keep is another thing)

    Text messaging is the new Telegram as emails are the new letter. (and even now emails are being superseded by interactive social media forums)

    By all means keep your love notes out of the electronic ether, but to get your message across
    from tech savvy to tech savvy I'd rather electronic anytime.

    Geek Freak

  • Erin

    Dear Geek Freak
    The benefit of email is indeed the instantaneousness of the medium. Whilst you make a valid case for taking the same care, I know of many who do not, in fact the email often easily wounds when writers dash off answers without sufficient thought. Yes text is the new in medium as are social forums, however my contention is an emotive one. To receive a letter by surface mail in today's world denotes that care and consideration has been taken, the excitement of receiving a letter by good old 'snail mail' is a hard feeling to reproduce. Then there is the significant history benefit of keeping letters as keepsake's, one can indeed print out special emails, but does one? I haven't as yet, but I do treasure letters.
    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, I enjoyed reading them.

  • Deanne

    I have been contemplating this recently and the fact that my kids don't write letters like I used to when I was a young, they are not learning the art of this form of communication, and if they do write to someone are they going to receive a reply?

  • Sue Elvis


    I agree with you entirely. I have a friend in the US who writes real letters in her own handwriting on beautiful paper. They are a real delight to receive.

    Yes, emails and text messages are convenient and I do like how they are instant. I am more inclined to write an email than a letter. But… it's the real letters I treasure. I look upon them as gifts which have taken the writers more time and effort.

    Erin, I have nominated you for a Lobster Award. A Lobster Award? See my blog for details!

  • Anonymous

    Dear Erin, You might like this site if you have not already come across it:
    I like to write and receive handwritten correspondence, and also like to choose the most attractive and appropriate postage-stamps for the envelope if I can. All part of the art of letter-writing.
    How wonderful for you to have letters from your grandmother and all those special occasions.
    Thankyou for this blog.
    [Valerie, NZ]

  • Erin

    that is a good point.

    I'm glad you understood what I meant. Ohh thank you!

    I haven't seen it before, thank you!It is wonderful to have Nana's letters:) Why thank you, always thrilled to hear from my readers.

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