Brandy Fedoruk and Rebecca Dolen hold a monthly letter-writing club. (Click for more about the letter-writing club.) While reading "Please Mr. Postman" (Utne Reader), I learned of their effort to preserve and even increase typewritten correspondence. From the article:
Spurred by a joint love of writing and, especially, receiving letters, as well as a desire to make use of their typewriters, the two have hosted the events since the shop [in Vancouver] opened in August 2005. Fedoruk reports that the evenings draw anywhere from 10 to 30 people who enjoy the novelty of the typewriters and drum up quite a racket with them.
'It's nice to feel like we are helping the letter gain
some momentum again, even if it is only a few more letters written each month,' Fedoruk says. 'I don't think it will ever be what it once was--but now it has become a way to show someone you really care.'
Ever since I attended a salon hosted by an advocate of the handwritten note named Cindy Zimmerman (about whom I blogged here), I've been thinking about the decline of the handwritten note. (Before reading the Utne article, I had not even thought of the typewriter as an alternative to the pen). I also have been asking others about their use of, and feelings about, those notes that travel through the old-fashioned, stamp-requiring method of mail. Everyone has at least one story about how a piece of correspondence arriving in the mail left an impression that has lasted.
The author of the article sums up several of the benefits of a note on paper, including its ability to be saved, and perhaps even cherished, over time.
Are people really printing and preserving keepsakes from their inboxes? We've lost the sentiment in real letters, the idea that the sender cared enough to put in a little effort--at least 41 cents worth. There's no legwork involved in an e-mail, just a few keystrokes and a click of the button. It's doubtful that, years from now, relatives will uncover passwords and log in to e-mail accounts to riffle through sent items, nor would it have quite the same heft as a packet of handwritten letters.
When is the last time you took the time to send a note or letter via the post office? Doing so can make a lasting impact on both personal and professional relationships. It obviously can be a method for both business development and improved client relationships.
And the writing can benefit not just the recipient but you, too. For just one story of how a person (a lawyer, now a judge) gained much from sending notes, read 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life. Got your pen out?
Some people are not able to write their own letters. Here is a moving story of a man writing letters to family for the homeless: "Just a letter — and so much more" (Seattle Times). The man helping with the letter writing is Mark Jaroslaw, managing editor of Lawyer Avenue.
Image credit: Vancouver Courier.