Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lost Art

I do most of my communicating via e-mail. I am quite the talker, and I type like I talk. The words just pour from my fingers. So I keep in touch with my friends mostly through e-mail. However, there are a small group of people in my life who don't have computers and so I keep in touch with them by the old fashioned US mail. This week I got three letters, all of them hand-written. One from an acquaintance in Michigan, an elderly lady who's quite an artist. She's got quite a fascinating resume. Guess what job she held for most of her life? Remember the flannel boards used in Sunday Schools everywhere to illustrate Bible stories? Phyllis painted flannel board figures. I get a hand written letter from her at the beginning of every month, telling me about her comings and goings in small town Michigan, and how her garden grows, reminisces about her childhood in upstate New York. I also got a little card from Esperanza, the sister I sponsor through Women-to-Women. She 'greets me so much!' as she puts it. I love that. I also got a letter from Trevor, three pages, handwritten in his careful script. It was good to hear from him. I'd been worried about him. Big life changes are always, well...life changing. As I sat and read their letters, it was hard not to think that the three of these people set aside part of their day and hand wrote a letter. Although I'm noted for my letter writing abilities (everyone says, "Gees, you write just like you talk') and I can send some pretty lengthy letters, they are almost always pounded out on the computer and printed off, with 'Love, Debby' scrawled at the bottom. There is something wonderful about receiving a handwritten letter. The writer stopped what they were doing and sat down to compose a letter. I picture them sitting down, staring off, chewing on their pen, thinking over a blank sheet of paper, crafting their words for my pleasure. What a rare gift!
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This week, my printer is on the glitch. I got out a tablet and sat down to answer the letters of my friends. As the words flowed from my pen, I discovered, for myself, the joys of...my computer. Egads. Will fix printer today, or die in the trying. I am not an artist.

6 comments:

Redlefty said...

I'm a lefty (duh) and my wrist cramps after two sentences. Hooray for keyboards!

jeanie said...

I can assure you, with my handwriting my correspondents appreciate the computer typed version!!! So long as there is something in there that says "for you" and not "mass produced" it is the closest they can get to legible meanderings!

Mary Paddock said...

I'm a lefty too. My handwriting is a back-slanted hybrid of cursive and print. I'm also an on-the-fly writer, editing and ordering my jumbled thoughts after I see them on the page. Any handwritten anything from me goes through several drafts before I'm satisfied. Consequently I've never been a huge letter writer. Word processors and computers are a fantastic invention as far as I'm concerned.

But like you, I do love getting handwritten letters. Something I can fold up and put in a drawer for rediscovery later on. Letters are one of the few things I keep forever.

steviewren said...

I am a terrible speller which makes for a messy letter. I cross out and insert words. The word processor with dictionary included is my friend for sure.

Hal Johnson said...

I think there is something special about a hand-written letter. That said, I'd just about rather take a beating than write one longhand. If I hadn't bought that Barron's Learn to Type book back in the eighties, I doubt I would have ever gotten into writing. All I have to do is look at the half-dozen abandoned journals from years past as evidence.

Hurray for the keyboard.

PaintedPromise said...

with my tendonitis issues i can write about 2 words legibly, then my writing goes downhill fast. thank God for keyboards!!!

hey with a "real" signature, nothing wrong with a typewritten letter!!! especially if the signature is prefaced with "love" :)