Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why We Write Letters.

I read an article recently that talked about the merits of writing letters as part of building your narrative on specific chapters of life. (It was especially pleasant to think about it that way after listening to talks like this about internet tattoos and all of the recent scandals about leaked emails etc.) Yes, my life and activities are being recorded to some extent through facebook and twitter, online purchases, credit cards, online bank transactions... All of these mediums.

But I also have the option to hand write letters that will fade with time, lose their meaning to anyone except the recipient... but they are beautiful because they make time seem more tangible. Instead of forever, we have the chance to make something that will fade with memories.

Society might be pushing towards immortality -- how will I be remembered? What can I leave behind to keep people thinking about me?

But I crave something tangible. Something with a real time line.

And for me, that is a letter. So intimate, you can imagine the brush that someone's hand has over the paper as they write.

For me, it means I have a box of letters sitting in the corner of my apartment that was waiting for an address until yesterday.

Letters suddenly mean a lot more when they become the only option. The life line to a friend so far away. And right now, they are. So my days are poured into words that clunk and don't fit as well as the experience itself, but we make the effort to recreate and remember these chapters, these moments, to share them when it matters most.

And as I send them all off tomorrow, I'm sending a piece of my memories as I lived them, to someone who matters most.

In defense, here is a TED talk!

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