When I was a child and really, through to my teenage years (late teenage years if I’m to be honest), letter writing was well and truly A Thing, and boy did I write. My mailbox was always a happy place. Bright envelopes filled with long letters from friends from all over the world well outweighed the bills and junk mail of the day. But then, the internet happened.
Given that most of us were still in our late teens or early 20’s at best, we saw the dawn of the internet age in the early 1990’s as an amazing thing! It allowed us to talk to one another in real-time without racking up outrageous, long-distance phone bills (ask your parents, 2000s kids – calling outside of your area code was like accidentally hitting the internet browser button on your first cell phone) via AIM or ICQ chats and chatrooms. It allowed us to write to one another via e-mail without spending money on postage, or having to delay gratification and wait for the mail. It allowed us to connect via Friendster, then MySpace, and eventually, Facebook. In short, it was amazing. We could send pictures, send “letters”, and send instant love. We could follow one another’s attempts at early HTML and CSS coding, investigate one another’s personal websites, and later, follow each other’s blogs.
Yet…as the internet evolved, our interactions became less personal. Texting replaced chats and became a little bit of a chore, not to mention nigh impossible with overseas friends (at least until apps like Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp came along). E-mail became burdensome – especially as more and more work places adopted it and the last thing anyone wanted to do when they got home was check more e-mail. Social media interaction rose, but became less personal – a quick like, maybe a comment (or a poke back in the early days of Facebook when that was still acceptable). And through it all, checking our post boxes each day held no joy – only bills and circulars.
Then, through Live Journal (remember that?), I learned that people did still write letters and exchange happy mail. I missed letter writing so much that I would sometimes have dreams of having a post box full of lovingly decorated envelopes, thick with long, handwritten letters inside, so discovering this was rather like finding out that unicorns really did exist after all! Continue reading “The Art of Letter Writing”