When was the last time that you sat down, picked up your favourite pen and took the time to hand write a letter to someone?
In this new age of instant communication, mass media and the electronic device, is letter writing becoming a lost art? I was pleasantly surprised on a recent visit to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, to find in a lobby upstairs, a table where a museum volunteer encouraged visitors to sit and compose a hand written letter. Stamps, pens, pencils, paper and envelopes were all provided by the Museum and I couldn’t resist stopping to join a small group quietly huddled at the table, heads down madly writing.
As letter writers go, I was prolific. I loved writing and sending letters to family and friends and loved receiving them too. I don’t remember when I abandoned paper and pen for the computer, but with the exception of our annual Christmas letter tucked inside a Christmas card, my pens and hard copy letters have been all but replaced by email, Twitter, Facebook, e-Cards, websites, blogs, smart phone and iPad. Like many of us, I am a hostage of electronic media and instant communication, and spend too much of my time staring at a screen for inspiration rather than looking out a window.
Putting pen to paper is similar to putting paint brush to canvas — they are both art forms and require creativity, practice and time, yes, time, to compose, convey and create a picture of thought and perspective. Both begin with a blank space, and the writer’s pen, like the artist’s brush, brings the paper slowly to life through language, just as the artist’s brush brings life to the canvas through colour and shape. The pen and the brush, in the hand of the artist or writer, both use style and technique to express imagination, vision and landscape, so you see, writing a letter is truly art.
So take a quiet moment away from the hurly-burly of daily life to communicate differently; just for a change, gather together paper and pen, sit near a window and write to someone who still loves to receive a hand written letter.