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The Art of Letter Writing

Can you remember the last time you received a handwritten letter in your mailbox? Better yet, can you recall the last time you sat down at your desk and actually composed a letter yourself?

I sure can’t.

For our technology-immersed generation, the concept of a handwritten note is practically foreign to us. Why write letters, we reason, when we can simply send people a text message, give them a phone call, shoot them an e-mail, or message them on Facebook? After all, sitting down and writing a letter requires so much time and effort. Our society is far too fast paced for such time-consuming acts.

I would argue, however, that there is something special—even sentimental—about handwritten letters than cannot merely be replaced by, or compensated with, technology.

The art of letter writing is a deeply personal and intimate experience. I mean, really think about it: You have to buy the stationary on which to write, your fingers must touch the pencil or pen with which you are writing, and your tongue must seal the envelope that you are sending. In due time, the receiver has the honor and privilege of holding the exact same paper you once held in the palms of your hands.

Setting aside time from your hectic day to express your sincerest thoughts and emotions on a piece of paper shows just how much you care and appreciate the receiver of your letter.

Imagine the look on somebody’s face when sifting through a pile of worthless junk mail only to discover, with astonishment, a handwritten letter addressed with his or her very own name on it! Picture the dazzling smile on that person’s face as he or she pours over your heartfelt words. Personally, my heart still leaps whenever I receive an unexpected note in the mail from a family member or a close friend (a rare occurrence).

So, next time you think about dialing a phone number or composing an e-mail, think again. Consider the profound effect you could have on somebody just by taking a little bit of time out of your busy life to sit down and write a letter. You never know. It may just make somebody’s day.

Lindsey Moses is a junior majoring in English at SUNY Oswego. She is currently a member of Alpha Sigma Eta, Oswego’s chapter of the International English Honor Society, as well as an editor for the Great Lake Review literary magazine. She also works as a tutor in the Writing Center, where she helps fellow students focus, develop, and organize their writing. In her spare time, Lindsey enjoys reading, writing, traveling, listening to music, and attending concerts.
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