While I miss the days of letters, I somehow rarely manage to channel that missing into writing letters. I have one dear friend with whom I exchange letters. But months pass between them. I started my letter to M in November and it is now February. A world has transformed since then. But that is the beauty of letters. They are communications but also objects. They exist in this double space of ethereal communication and permanent object.
One thing I noticed in receiving letters from M is that I treat them very differently than receiving an email. Emails, I skim. Letters, I save until the right moment wherein I can sit quietly in a comfortable place and read and savor – even the bad news. I remember not just the letter but the spot where I read it, the quality of the light and the feel of the air. Now letters are such a rarity – such an event.
But I remember a time when letters were more ubiquitous. My best friend in 7th grade moved to a town an hour away and we would write every few days.
When we went out of town, we’d send letters and postcards home. I wrote letters with the boys I liked…sending them from near and far. But even though there were more letters then, I still think they were special. I have memories, some 30 years past, of reading letters on my bed or in the garden. The letter was an event, an object and a message.