Something To Write Home About

I love writing letters on honest-to-goodness stationery … the feel of it, the sound of it, the look of it, even the smell of it.

When this stationery set beckoned to me recently at a flea market, I felt like I’d discovered a rare jewel amidst the clutter — a remnant of a bygone era. It reminded me that the art of letter writing has been boxed up and tucked away, too.

In spite of today’s technology, you can’t send a perfumed e-mail.

I wondered what its owner had written on the missing pages prior to passing it along to me. Love letters? War-time “I miss you’s?” Dear Mom and Dad, the weather’s been fine? The beauty of letter-writing is that I’ll never know. It’s personal… and private.

Once home, I dug out my faithful ol’ address book — a chronology of lives between two covers, filled with street names, apartment numbers, and former addresses visible through penciled-out lines; family members and friends added — or sadly, lost; and Christmas cards sent and received. Even a trail of telephone numbers.

Drop-down lists are incapable of holding that much history.

Then I sat down to write personally to another human being.

My companions were a cup of coffee, a plateful of cookies, and uninterrupted thoughts. (That, and accountability at the end of my pen.)

You are what you write, no matter how you write it.

Enjoying life one letter at a time,

~ Kim

17 thoughts on “Something To Write Home About

  1. Writing on real stationary and cards is one of my most favorite things to do. In fact I did it yesterday morning…little notes to some friends who are struggling right now. I have two boxes filled with cards and stationary I love. I hope I never forget the beauty of writing to another person in that way.

    Plus chocolate chip cookies? Perfection :o)

    • You are as thoughtful as your writing comes across, Christie! Lucky friends — no, make that blessed friends — to get an uplifting note from you. And three cheers for noticing the cookies! :)
      ~ Kim

  2. I love this. I miss getting real mail. I still use a paper calendar,get my pictures developed and read a newspaper. I am just not completely on the techie bandwagon.
    Great post :)
    Have a great weekend!

    • You, too, Heather! Other than the fact that I conveyed that post on a “blog” (and linked to another blog!), I’m a pen and paper gal at heart. :)
      Take care,
      Kim

  3. Wow, Kim. When I read the headline an image of my grandmother diligently scrawling away at her small desk sprung to my mind. I was fully expecting to read your article and be reminded of her flowing letters and cream colored paper. She no longer writes as much, but I try to get her small leather journals to fill for me once in awhile.

    What I didn’t expect was how much your post made me yearn to receive a hand-written letter of my own. I didn’t get to grow up in an era where this was common place and I feel cheated.

    And at the end of the post, my desires turned to wanting to write my own letters. I don’t even own an address book – I guess I’ll have to ask for friends and family’s addresses for the first time. I wonder what they’ll think when they get something in the mail as opposed to their email inbox like usual.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Kim. Great post!

    • Thank you, Rory & Wendy! Writing letters is more than just putting words on paper — it’s an extension of your life. I hope you get that address book.
      Sincerely,
      Kim

  4. As much as I love new technology I still love paper and old-fashioned fountain pens. In fact I have a collection of them that I still use. It’s fun to pick out paper and new ink. Growing up my mom instilled in us the art of writing thank your to relatives and this has stuck. My challenge now, in this age of text messaging, will be to instill this in my daughter. Have you heard of felix doolittle? (I’m in no way connected to them.) They sell beautiful stationery and something else I love that seems to have gone by the wayside: book plates. And since you love food, they also have baker’s labels.

    On another note, I remember my grandmother’s address book. When she passed away we saw that she kept crossing out those who’d passed on. So touching and something you could see only on paper.

    Thank you for a beautiful post.

  5. Tracey, I loved the story about your Grandma’s address book. I also appreciated the referral to a good stationery store! My fountain pen went by the wayside many years ago and I miss “scratching” along with it. Maybe I’ll replace it someday — so neat to hear that you have a collection!

    I especially agree with you on the importance of “thank you notes.” Personal acknowledgment seems to be a disappearing trend and it saddens me. Bravo for passing along your manners to your daughter!

  6. Hi Kim!

    You brought back memories of my grandfather who always used a fountain pen and had the most beautiful handwriting. For me, I love to write cursive still and journal by hand instead of via my computer. I feel like writing by hand is a personal commitment to beauty – because that’s what pure handwriting is.

    I’m also taking your wonderful post as a nudge to get back to writing thank you notes again and even considering addressing the holiday cards by hand instead of just printing off the labels and slapping them onto the envelopes!

    Again, wonderful post!
    Marion

    • Marion, I’m tickled by your comments and also the memories you shared about your grandfather. That felt like a hug! My husband has the most beautiful penmanship, too — it’s “art” just looking at it.

      I’m glad this post inspired you to employ “handwritten,” especially with the holidays just around the corner. Without it, Christmas cards (and thank you notes) become just one more “to do” instead of a heartfelt extension of gratitude. It seems to mean something to folks when they receive a letter or card addressed to them “by hand” and it’s worth the extra time to do it!

      I especially liked your phrase (re: penmanship) as: “a personal commitment to beauty.” :) Thanks!

  7. Vintage stationary. Somehow the word “vintage” struck such a cord with me today. I am always delighted and surprised when I receive a handwritten note in the mail. I, too, love the feel, the sound, and the look of a handwritten letter. It’s been a very long time since I’ve written one. I worry about how many more things we’ll be calling “vintage” in this electronic world of ours.

    P.S. I want one of those cookies.

    • Sue Ann, the surprise and delight you mentioned are what compel me to continue writing letters, notes, cards, etc. by hand — such a small act, but the joy it delivers is exponential!

      The only word that came to mind when you talked about things being labeled “vintage” was ME. :) I think we’ve got the best of both worlds at our fingertips — the trick is in balancing “personal correspondence” with the speed and allure of the electronic age. Somehow, I think you’ll be writing more letters, possibly to your Dad. xo I’ve sent many a letter to folks in the same situation, even if the only way they were able to read it was to have it “read to them.” Hearts understand and know.

      P.P.S.S. I’m baking another batch of cookies right now. :)

  8. Kim,

    Nothing beats receiving a letter, especially amidst a sea of junk mail or bills. I have a friend who travels the world, and occasionally he sends a postcard with barely a sentence or two scribbled in the message section, but there is something about the thought he had, and then impetus to actually pick up a pen and write to me, that thrills me. Simple things, I know ;)

    I wrote an article a few weeks ago called Bringing Civility Back (http://bit.ly/nupbLD). Perhaps many of us are finding our way (back) to a kinder way of communication.

    I look forward to more of your musings.

    Those cookies are killin’ me, by the way!

    • Shanna, I LOVE post cards! They’re the most underrated, under-used means of saying “hi, I was thinking about you!” Glad you brought them up.

      Your “civilized” post hit the nail on the head and I’m so glad you linked it here! Seems like everyone is yearning for that kinder communication and “simple things” you mentioned. Again, thanks! Wish I could send a cookie to you through cyberspace! :)

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