When I was anticipating leaving for my year abroad, I promised I would write letters. Immediately, I was given reactions questioning why I would bother with such an archaic, and inefficient method of communication. And it was true that I would end up utilizing the more current forms of staying in touch between various social media, email, and phone calls. Still, there was something to be said about putting pen to paper, the long lines of text, and the personality that comes with each handwritten word.
Somehow, it’s easier to discuss the adventures and express the emotions that come with being on a life changing experience. Written correspondence allows for a more intimate link between those that we don’t see as often as we used to. It’s a tangible connection, and one that can be preserved in a way that those virtual messages never could be. Seeing the crease where the paper was re-folded to fit a smaller than anticipated envelope, the crossing out of certain words, the passion of a few bold sentences, these simple details make all the difference. And when you add in the emotional connection of being able to touch the same paper, read the same words, see the same sketches…those little passings of notes and secrets across oceans and continents makes our separate worlds seem just a bit closer.
And then when you take in the history of letter writing, a history that extends evidently far longer than the latest social media could ever aspire, there is a uniquely human connection that transcends the act itself between the sender and the recipient. It is continuing a long standing tradition that is uniquely human.
So before you send out another text or email update, consider the intimacy of the written word; it’s a beautiful form of not only communication, but connection.