Thursday, May 3, 2012

Letter Writing Lives Here

I have an old friend who calls me "the Hallmark lady" because I always remember to send cards, with personal notes inside, for the special occasions of friends and family.  It's an important habit for me, and another one is the subject of today's post: letter writing.

I will admit I don't write as many letters as I used to, but I've made a recent commitment to change that because I think it's a necessary part of living that needs to be preserved.  Plus, I get great satisfaction out of penning personal thoughts and stories of recent happenings in my life, and sending them off in a stamped envelope to people I care about.

I'm not alone in this venture, I've learned.  There are many others who agree with me that keeping the art of letter writing alive is worth the time.  Just do an online search of "letter writing" and read about all those who consider it a rewarding activity.  My favorite is a website called the Letter Writers Alliance.  It was started about five years ago by two women in Chicago; Kathy Zodrozny and Donovan Beeson.  Check out this site - their dedication to this effort, coupled with interesting history, anecdotes, photos, and blogs all combine to inspire.

This is an international movement as well.  As an example, the BBC did a story on "the importance of paper correspondence".  Now, I'm not - nor is the Letter Writers Alliance - anti-technology.  E-mail has its purpose and the LWA refers to its website as its "clubhouse".  But consider what a recipient receives when they open their mailbox and discover something besides junk mail and bills.  That's reason enough, even before considering the caring message such effort sends to that person.  Plus, it's just as rewarding to the writer of a letter; trust me on this.

One of my favorite examples of how sending a letter can impact a life focuses on Honor Flight Chicago, an organization that takes WWII vets to Washington DC by plane, gives them a tour of the WWII Memorial and other historic sights of our Capital and then, on the flight back, they receive "mail call"; handwritten letters from friends, family, and even strangers that the veterans say touch them the most about this experience.  Just imagine their reaction to words of thanks from so many; that's an image worth motivating you to take the time to sit down with pen and paper.

The book I'm working on now will take the reader from the present to the time of WWII.   One of my aims in the storytelling is to focus on the differences of the two societies and how our present can always learn from the past.  In that past were many elements of humanity that can be embraced still, and make us the better for pursuing them.  I think the time taken to write a letter is one of those.  

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