a sheet of light paper folded and sealed to form a letter for sending by airmail.Set the timer and let 30 minutes commence…
I like writing letters, even today in the digital age there is something so much more personal in sitting with a pen and paper, and letting the words, flow from the heart. I have written letters I have never sent, cathartic, vitriol filled rants at those who have done me wrong, well in my eyes anyway but I have written just as many love letters filled with words I cannot say, that I could never allow to spill from my lips.
As a child I used to write to my grandma once she moved away, I have some of those now, returned to me before the dementia took hold, such innocent lines of nothing but they had meant enough for her to have kept them for over 25 years. I think of the letters I wish I could write now, that it is too late for, to give her news of my books, my first grand child impending, so much more information than those lines she saved on the floral notelets that you unfolded to give you more writing space. I need to write to my great uncle, I have not been in touch with him for a while, at one point we rung every week but then my grandma passed away and the contact got less, not from a desire to lose contact but laziness, he probably feels I do not want to hear from him and I know he struggles with the phone so writing is better for him but I put it off so often. My great aunt is on Facebook so I keep in touch there with a series of likes, comments and tags, but my great uncle is not as tech savvy and I know he had trouble accessing the emails I sent him with stuff about the family tree. U have photos of him and my great aunt as children, I know in theory the idea of digital albums people tagged and shared should mean they last forever but you have to wonder whether with the accidental hit of the delete button will entire sections of history disappear. there is of course another reason the letter is so much more personal, the writing. In the family tree research we came across an uncle of my grandma’s repatriated to Australia after the first world war, in this cache of records there was a letter, scanned into the computer but a request for his army records, it seems so silly, the least personal type of letter you could imagine but as I sat staring at the screen I thought about the fact this man, dead before I was born, on the other side of the world had written those words. It had an address and though I am pretty sure the area had chanced I could put it in Google Maps and look at the address he had written that letter from, the street he would have walked down to post it. I love the idea that history is passed on in something tangible, that you can smell perfume on the letters, just the faintest smell of what the writer might have been wearing, that you can look at their choice of paper, pen and even in my case wax seal to tell you even more about them, I love the idea of something that though it will not last forever will, if passed on tell far more than an email ever could.