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Monday, August 29, 2016

Learning how to be...


E-mails, phone calls, web sites, videos. They're all letters, basically, and they've come to outnumber old fashioned conversation. They are the conversation now.”
Walter Kirn

I have to tell you, I hate this about modern life. Believe me, I use all these devices and distractions every single day, but I really miss snail mail and face-to-face conversation. As a person who lives alone and works alone most of the time, sitting down to a nice meal, a glass of wine, and a good friend who loves conversation is the pentacle of pleasure. I don't know if that's an age-thing, or not—my friends have begun teasing me about where the good cafeterias are since I'm now in the category of folks who might frequent them.

I have fond memories of going to the post office, checking for mail in the ornate metal box, the smell of it, the excitement of seeing an envelope in the tiny enclosure. I remember waiting impatiently, counting the days for a response from a friend or lover. My grandmother, Mama, wrote long newsy letters. I still have a few. And of course, the thin blue air-mail envelopes that came from men at war. I know it's old fashioned, but then so am I, so it's okay. I love it when we get vintage postcards to list on eBay. The brilliant calligraphy is a lost art. Sometimes, just the scrolling signature is worth the price.

So you'll understand how excited I am that my friend, Cedric, a writer himself, who's away at graduate school, asked if we could communicate by letter writing. I jumped on it. I sat down yesterday and drew a little picture of the journey—the road through the mountains, the city in the distance, his car making its way there. It will be on the front of his first letter from me. You see, it's the very personal nature of the communication that makes all the difference when you hand-write a letter. It takes time to prepare the material, to compose your words, to decide what's worth writing about. You put a lot of yourself into it, and that comes through. It says I care enough about you to give this some thought. It's like a good conversation on paper.

If you have time today, instead of sending an email or a tweet, write a soulful little note to someone you care about. Put your thoughts down on paper, share yourself in this private and personal way. It's really okay to be old-fashioned.

                                                             In the Spirit,


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