Last week, a letter rattled through my letterbox. It was my annual Christmas letter from a lady who is 87 going on 30. We met by chance when she came to my rescue when my car broke down outside her house in Dorset and we have been corresponding once a year ever since. She always sends me the most beautiful letters full of her adventures, she lives life to the full and is a shining example to that old adage: still life in the old dog, yet.
Reading her letter, I was reminded on how this was the only handwritten letter I'd received all year and, like Carrie Bradshaw would muse...I couldn't help but wonder if receiving letters would one day become obsolete? Will we, in the future be going to museums and looking at a handwritten letter as a museum piece, something from a bygone era?
There is a weekend supplement that I always read and at the very back there is a question and answer section with a celebrity and one of the questions posed is: "Tell us something that people would find surprising about you?" I often imagine what I would reveal, and to be honest, I think it would be my passion for stationery. Now, I am fully aware that this would come under the most boring revelation imaginable, not exactly up there with conversing with the Dalia Lama on Skype or looking for endangered species in the Amazon, but it really does engage my interest. My passion is just that, walking into stationery stores and browsing though all their notepapers, cards, writing sets etc... I would say that I'm more partial to the vintage stationery stores that don't mass produce stationery for companies.
As soon as I walk in I inhale the wood aroma in the air, feel the grainy texture of the paper and admire the sheer beauty of the designs. See? Told you it was off the Richter scale boring. It's just paper I hear you cry!!! Au contraire mon amie. It's a voyage of discovery, expressing a sentiment, thoughts, grief, affection, love, even. With one swirl of my fountain pen I can compose something that is uplifting and a keepsake for the future.
Communication with technology involves bashing away at a set of keys, sending lazy texts: "r u ok?" But in writing, your thoughts are much more intimate as you've put actual words on paper and have had to use that articulate brain cell of yours, delve into your imagination, dust the cobwebs from that lazy brain that is so use to technology doing all the hard graft.
Nevertheless, I do appreciate that we live our lives at such as pace that everything needs to be as instant as Pot Noddle but letter writing can be very therapeutic, but the only downside I would proffer is that one realises how much we rely on the good old spellcheck and I often have to refer to my dictionary and write more clearly as I am convinced in another life I was a Doctor as nobody can ever read my handwriting!
So in honour of my good friend, Ruby Ryan, I hope letter writing will never become something of a bygone age and we will keep the written word alive and look forward to that rattle of the letterbox and open a letter that is not a final demand for your council tax.