Month of Letters draws to a satisfying close
Yesterday I wrote my twenty-fifth and final letter of the Month of Letters project. (Technically, it was only supposed to be 24 letters - one for each day the post office was open during February - but I hand-delivered my letter to Julie to be sure she'd have it on her birthday. She appreciated the letter but insisted on getting delivered through the mail, so I wrote her a second one yesterday.)
It was a great experience, and from the feedback I've gotten it seems like people really enjoyed getting a hand-written letter in the mail. Letter-writing is such an anachronism in this era of email and text messaging, and has obvious limitations in terms of timeliness. But it also requires the writer to really slow down and reflect more on what's being written, and I think the message is better for that extra thought even though it takes a few extra days to arrive. I've already gotten several letters in reply, including: one written on a deli bag; a dense thirteen-pager packed into a box whose wonderful contents I've promised not to divulge; and some sky charts from an astronomer in New Mexico which allowed us to watch the International Space Station pass overhead this week. And several more people have promised to write back, which I'm very much looking forward to.
My own letters were a varied bunch. Most dwelled on my own life - family, career, writing - while a few others were about the recipient and how much that person means to me. One letter was a rambling travelogue of my evening train ride (where I wrote most of the letters) and another was a short story written in one hour, between Chicago and Joliet. The importance of this project to me was two-fold: first, it instilled the habit of writing every day (a practice I don't observe with my fiction writing, though I really should); and second, it forced my out of my introverted shell in reaching out to others. I think the project was good for me, and hope my correspondents appreciated my effort.
The written letter carries tone infinitely better than email, I think. Email always wants to slide into light humor or sharp remarks. Very limiting.
Posted by: Shelley at Mar 1, 2012 10:46:37 AM
I'm dying to know what those wonderful contents are you won't divulge!
Posted by: Paul at Mar 1, 2012 3:12:09 PM
Sorry. Sworn to secrecy. Loose lips sink ships.
Posted by: Pete at Mar 1, 2012 9:52:04 PM