Yesterday, amongst the bills, requests for donations and the fliers was a letter addressed to Peter Whittle, Esq.
It has been a long time since I received a letter, let a lone addressed with esquire. Cheap long distance, e-mail, Facebook, Messenger and Skype have all but replaced the personal letter.
How personal is social media? Sure we may be in contact more often, but with the quantity has come less quality. We beat out quick responses “hey there “or “how are you”. Emotion has been replaced by symbols. The art of writing, grammar and spelling have been diminished.
Marshall McLuhan, predicted the decline of literacy. He foresaw,, the rise of new oral/aural technologies. People chatting while driving, reading their e-mails at the coffee shop, but not pausing long enough to reflect.
There was a time when writing letters was our only means of communicating over long distances. I love reading letters. From war time letters to travel letters. The emotion, descriptions and imagery just flows off the page.
Writing is not an automatic response. It requires thought and concentration -- and effort. Electronic media is often without thought -- it is, for the most part, an automatic response.
Throughout my teen years and my twenties, I corresponded by mail with my great Aunt Margaret. Every couple of weeks I would receive a three page flowing letter. My reply would be equally long. I looked forward to sending and receiving those letters. Imagine letters filled with genuine sincerity. I felt special..
My recent letter was in response to an e-mail that I had sent to a local author. His analog response was very unexpected. It was not another line on my computer screen. Knowing he took the time to write it, makes it much more meaningful.
Nothing beats a heartfelt letter!