Wednesday, September 25, 2013

pen to paper

A few years ago I came across a woman purchasing several boxes of correspondence cards.  She had either noticed my curious expression or she herself was feeling self conscious of the mounds of note cards hauled to the cash register.  She sheepishly explained that she writes her grandmother once a week and loads up on note cards every chance she gets.  I thought it was a brilliant idea and though my life isn't too interesting to write once a week, I decided to write both my grandmothers once a month.

Write.  Not text a hello or send a typed message through email or social media, I write.  Pen to paper, my chicken scratch, slacking cursive penmanship, my words, my personal touch to connecting with people I love.  I take the time to sit down, whether it be in a lobby, parking lot, a work table or my dining room table, I take the time to jot down the current happenings in my family's life.

I don't know if many actually correspond through letters anymore, maybe it is old fashioned or possibly a lost art (much like cursive writing these days).  I wish we would stop for a moment and add that personal touch back into our conversations; whether it be face to face so one can see and feel the expression and animation on anothers face, or the inflection in a voice traveling through the lines (or waves) of a telephone.  Where we can hear the softness of a smitten voice or the melancholy drum of a friend in need; the personal touch of penning a letter and the happiness of receiving one knowing someone was especially thinking of you.  It seems wild to think that our thumbs are doing most of the talking these days.  And it seems like those stumpy little digits are a little impersonal as well.

One of the absolute, most impersonal pieces of correspondence I've seen lately was given to a co-worker of mine.  She was invited to attend a Dean's List luncheon in celebration of her scholarly accomplishments.  The invitation was sent to her phone.  By a mass text.  Upon reading the text (which was posted on social media) I felt a slight disappointment in the process of acknowledging the student's accomplishments.  Where was the official letter with the letterhead and embossed stamp?  With the signature (even if it is stamped) of the dean him or herself?  There was nothing personal about inviting this student, a real in the flesh human being to a dinner.  Is there any connection at all or is it lost forever?  I suppose my age is a tell all preferring to use ink and voice rather than thumbs.  I'd want the paper.  I'd want that penned signature (real or not).  I'd appreciate the effort.

As I finish typing this post, I will meander to the table and pull out my yellow paisley note cards and write my September letters to both of my grandmothers.  Will you do the same?  Or will you rely on your thumbs being connected to a device and possibly miss out on actually connecting?  Grab that pen and put it to paper.  Surprise someone with a letter and connect.

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