Having knowingly embraced a ‘slower’ lifestyle I listened with interest to John Freeman talking with Kim Hill on National Radio... http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday.
Freeman was lamenting the loss of slower, more thoughtful forms of communication – in particular the letter. As a formerly prolific letter writer I pondered on this one. What has been lost with the virtual demise of the personal letter?
A tailoring to the recipient and the materiality of the act, for one. For me, sending a letter involves the choice of vehicle – plain work paper? nice writing paper? a card? (purchased or home-made?); the thoughtful and purposeful handwritten communication with an individual; the act of sealing, addressing, stamping and conveying the letter to a post box; and the substantial wait with its attendant anticipation, for a reply. I like the ritual associated with letter writing (like the ritual associated with making good tea or coffee). And above all I like the tangibility of it. Handwriting – as much a personal signature as voice or walk. Nice stamps. Letters tied with a ribbon, stored in the bottom of a box… I have letters my mother wrote home from Europe in 1949-50; letters my father wrote to my mother in New Zealand and the United Kingdom; letters I wrote home from Europe thirty years later.
Having said all that I love email too - but that is another 'post'...