There's something special about a letter.
Maybe it's the taste of glue from the adhesive right before it's sent, the care taken to write something that's might travel halfway across the world, or the feeling once you've stuck the paper in it's box and stood the red flag skywards.
For most everyone, the most special part about a letter is receiving one.
I'm not talking about getting a credit card bill in the mail or your dental check up reminder, I'm strictly referring to feeling generated when a family member or friend or someone else entirely puts pen to paper and wants to make sure you get to read what was written.
As a member of this Odyssey community, I feel I've made it obvious that I love to write. Sure, ideas might be hard to come by sometimes, but there's still a flood of emotions that comes when an article switches from 'Edited' to 'Published.' Sometimes I'm just sitting at my computer, refreshing the page, watching the number of views. Occasionally, I'll get a call or text from someone close to me, giving their opinion on my writing. It's truly something special. And that's why I'm upset that I don't write more letters.
Since I've come to college, I've only written and sent a note or two to my parents and grandmother. One or two for each, maybe. Why don't I write more? It's not like I don't have enough time for it, the whole process can take less than five minutes.
I like to think it's because I have a need to write as much as possible; to carve a story into the parchment, wasting no space. White space means I didn't try hard enough in telling my tale. And that's after I've done the ideal "remove 2/3rds during editing" process. I like for those who read my work to learn something new, see something in a different way, or just be genuinely interested in what I've created. How am I supposed to do that on a 5"x6" strip of card stock?
I really look up to my parents in this time. They both send me letters at least weekly. Just today I got one from Mom and one from Dad, both vastly different. My mother has a style of finding the perfect card to make me laugh or feel comforted by its cover alone. Then she sweetly takes the time to write a line or two about life back home, reminding me how much I'm missed and that she loves me. Very sweet, very typically "Mom."
My Dad takes a fairly different approach. If it's not a pre-bought card featuring a stock photo of a dog on it, it's a piece of stationary that we've amassed over the years, like a drawing I made in art class in kindergarten that was foolishly purchased several times over in card form, or, like today's letter, it's a 3-dimensional card with an odd Barbie-sized dress glued to it. The best part, by far, of these strange pieces of mail, are the writings inside. Like this last, 3D-fabric dresses card, the following was written inside:
Here at The Home we have something called "Arts and Crafts Time." I hope you like this card I made I made just for you and spent several hours on it. Also, this is the most exciting part of my week now that you're away at college.
I love youse-
As you can see, not a single serious sentence was written. Still, when I tore open the envelope walking back to my room after class, I actually had to take a second to laugh at how idiotically brilliant it was. After dealing with classes and stress from personal drama, all I wanted to do was have a brief moment of stupid laughter, which I got all thanks to a letter.
I guess the point of this article is to point out how a simple piece of paper can change a person's day or even their life, depending on the contents. Every winter, high school seniors wait for their mailboxes to get that one letter that means the world: a letter of acceptance to their choice college. People are surprised when they get a postcard in the mail from their friend on the other side of the globe who thought of them enough to jot down their thoughts accompanied by a picture of the distant land they've traveled to. Grandparents get tears in their eyes when they get those pictures in the mail of their grandkids for the first time.
With how quickly technology has advanced, everything seems to be digital. I mean, why write out a letter when you can type it half quickly and send it instantaneously?
In my opinion, it's the same as buying a book physically rather than on a E-Reader. There's a personality to a book you can hold in your hands. The pages have life to them, even a certain smell that can be extremely soothing. The binding can be taken care of or broken instantly. The pages can all be clean and crisp or dogeared in the corners. Books are whatever you want them to be, you can make them your own...just like a letter.
Perchance you'll take the time today to grab a pen and write something down. Maybe a summary of the weekend or just a quote you really like and feel someone else would too. Wrap it up, stick a stamp on it, and send it to someone: a friend, parent, cousin, whoever. I promise it'll turn their day around.
And if you want to be a real comedian, there's other things you can send in the mail. For example, it only takes seven stamps and an address to mail your closest companion an un-boxed potato.