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Write On ! The Lost Art of Letter Writing

To text or not to text, the lost art of writing a letter.

I went to a Catholic school most of my life. We had to learn cursive and I still use it today. I find it is faster and smoother when I need to write quickly. My kids learned cursive in third grade. Then nothing. They barely can sign their name. But it's hard to text in handwriting!

Cursive writing skills transfer to other actions that require fine motor skills and eye hand coordination. Handwriting is beautiful. But with the advent of texting, emojis, and video chatting writing has drifted away, especially handwriting.

However, I made my kids write thank you letters. Especially to their grandmas. A handwritten note conveys time and consideration. It says I remember you; I care about you.

As the writer, it is a time to think of the person to whom you are writing. Most letters center around an event birthday, anniversary, Valentine Day, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, death, birth. Your words carry your emotion to your intended.

When my dad died, I got numerous cards about grieving. Each one was sorry for our loss. Each letter conveyed a story or memory about my dad. I still have those cards. It is something physical that I can touch and read to keep my dad’s memory alive. In the same situation, a text, tweet, or emoji just wasn’t the same, to me.

What has something that someone wrote to you that you’ve never forgotten. For me, it was one of the letters I received after my dad died. He was my dad’s best friend who was so devastated by my father’s death that he couldn’t go to the memorial. He said that if I needed any advice about life that he would be there for me.

I can look at the letter and feel his sentiment, his sorrow.

I don’t even need to read it. That’s how memories can be so intertwined with the written word and remain with you for a long time.

What cards, notes, Post Its, autographs, love notes, yearbook autographs, have you kept? They are our keepsakes! The written word is permanent. Words attach to our memories and emotions as if they were physical possessions.

I’ve written about my business partner, Kim Bordelon, and her craftiness. She makes her own cards. Each card is crafted to fit the occasion and the person who will receive the card. It isn’t a lost art with her.

Kim's Handcrafted Cards

I still write letters. I enjoy looking for cards and stationery. The best place to find stationery is at museum gift shops. In fact, I think the best part of museums IS the gift shop. My mom still writes letters and really like to get letters. That is why my kids write thank you notes. The year my mom turned 70 we wrote her 70 letters throughout the year! Combine letters with The Art of Gift Giving & you have a wonderful gift.

When I was in grade school I began to write to my grandma, Bess. I wasn’t allowed to call her grandma. “I’m too young to be a grandma, call me Bess.” So we did. She became my pen pal. It’s how we kept in touch. I continued through college, even when I lived in Europe. I have saved many of her letters. I keep them because her personality comes though her written words. Her stories and expressions make me smile with many fond memories.

Try this. Instead of a text, send a card. Take time to write someone a note, a card, a caring thought. Drop off a card on someone’s door, stick Post It on a co-worker’s desk, or drop a letter in the mail. Don’t wait for New Year’s and those resolutions that are done out of habit. Let family and friends know their impact on you.

Start now. We’re in a perfect season for gratefulness, love, faith, hope, and making others happy. So send that Christmas card, write that yearly sappy update, and take the time to let others know why they are important to you and worth remembering.

What makes letter writing so personal is that it isn’t a public act, it is a private moment between two people sharing a common sentiment.

Write on!

SK Out! Have a great week! Be Happy!

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