Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Magic of Snail Mail Letters

Many people wonder what makes me enjoy passing my time writing letters like in an old novel. They don't understand why I'm so delighted at using ink and paper instead of a computer, even more so because in general typing is so much neater and quicker. The truth is that for me composing a letter is an important mission and one that is surrounded by a certain magic. A letter is more than just a piece of paper with words written on it. A sealed envelope contains more than a message, it comprises the whole personality of the sender. 

For me writing a letter thus doesn't start with the first stroke of the pen on a sheet of paper. The first step is to choose the right paper for the purpose. Size, colour, design, quality, and finishing all matter. Then I decide about the pen. Sometimes a fountain pen seems more appropriate than an ordinary ball point, sometimes I feel like using ink that isn't blue. If possible I also take care to pick the right envelope and the right stamp. It's important that they match with me and my pen-friend or it might spoil the whole impression... and the magic.

Composing my letters is a ceremony that needs peace and quiet as well as time. Handwriting a letter doesn't forgive being in a hurry. There's no copying and pasting in an old-fashioned letter, so before actually writing it's necessary to make at least a mental draft. I need to know what I want to say, express, explain. Writing a letter also allows, even requires me to slow down which made it one of my favourite ways to practice zen. Answering to the letter of a friend makes me forget the whole world around me for a while. There are only the two of us left.

And when I finish my letter, it's a magic link between me and my pen-friend.


  1. I've never thought about writing a letter in the way you have described.

    I honestly don't know how many years it's been since I wrote a handwritten letter - too dependant on technology now which takes the personl touch out of so many things.

  2. Michelle, that's just it! Snail mail has a personal touch and all those modern ways of communicating will never be able to compete. The same goes for ebooks by the way. There's nothing like holding a book, touching its pages and smelling the ink.


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