The arrival of the postman with the latest instalment of news from a pen pal or a favourite aunt evokes childhood memories for those of us who grew up before the era of text messages and emails. Although the postman mainly delivers junk mail now - even bills have gone online - I'm glad to report that the art of letter writing is still alive.
I thought it fitting that there's no time like the present to knuckle down and join the writers out there writing to their former selves. Not in a 'Clare, Clare, can you hear me?' way, but a reflective, reactive, and 'actually, you can learn a lot in 11 years' revelation that only comes with historical hindsight, and I hope is something others can relate to.
The first thing we do when we wake up is to check our emails. The last we do before going to bed is to check our emails. In the middle of the night we check our emails. Yes, sleep checking is the 21st century's sleep walking. Funny how you don't remember responding to that particular call to action. Sorry, but it's too late now. T
I'm 59, the eldest of four siblings, but have no partner and no children. A sense of inadequacy grows: what can I leave my nephews and nieces, and their children? I don't mean memories; I mean, what that is tangible and lasting, that I can equitably share among them? It's like feeling a phantom limb, a shadowy disconnect with future generations that I so ache to put right.
Firstly, congratulations on making it this far, what with your little sister hurling a metal bin at your head when you mocked her dolls and your even littler brother spending most of his time crawling about at the bottom of stairs, meaning that you've tripped over him and smashed your head on the marble floor more often than advisable.
In the aftermath of the Second World War Tom had to return to his family after spending the duration in Polly's tiny rural village. Circumstances and parents didn't allow the young couple to meet for a year. It was their daily love letters on cheap lined paper torn from exercise books that kept their love alive.
In today's world everything is recorded. Every little thing is captured, monitored, kept and stored, but none of it is special, none of it is treasured and kept for a reason. So instead of traipsing through conversation and email histories to find those moments that matter just write a letter, and you will say more and it will mean more to the person that you are saying it to.
I put aside one Sunday every month to write letters to loved ones. Yup you read that right. I pick up a pen (usually a fountain pen or a very nice biro) and put said pen to paper and write full English sentences on said paper with the aforementioned pen. There isn't a piece of technology in sight. Well ok, when I Instagram what I'm doing to show off the fact that I still write letters to people.