Thursday, May 13, 2010

Skip the Massage--Write a Letter

There is something rather therapeutic about writing a letter, and while I have extolled the glories of letter-writing before, I think that this is one aspect that has not been too much explored. Recently I was replying to letters from fifth graders in Massachusetts--some very wonderful, well-written letters--and I felt a very nice sense of peace and calm when writing that letter, that one doesn't really feel with the frenetic pace of tapping out an email.

Even if you have all the time in the world, the very format of email seems to hurry you up--it says, "C'mon, hurry up, write this, you have a freaking keyboard, you can go faster, the person's going to check their email soon, get it in now!" Whereas no matter how fast you write a letter, it won't make a difference as to when it gets there (unless you're writing it right before they come and collect the mail); the mail is all picked up at a certain time, and all delivered at a certain time. Email has a certain aspect of randomness about it--you don't know if they've received the email, or when they received it, or what, and you can send it at pretty much any time--letters, on the other hand, are fixed, certain things, that (unless you make copies of your letters) cannot be reviewed and regretted and analyzed after sending.

Writing a letter, in addition, is as separate from work as email is a part of it. It's not too often that you handwrite an entire, full-page letter in your office--who has the time? The very act of writing a letter is snuffing your nose at email, that necessary evil of convenience, and saying, "You know what, I have time to actually sit down and write a letter. A real letter. Sucks for you!" And lovely for whoever receives the letter. I love opening my mailbox and seeing something for me.

So skip the massage. Write a letter. You'll be surprised by the therapeutic benefits.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting that you posted this because I just posted on my blog the benefits of computer communication. I used to write letters to my great-grandmother before she died, so writing letters had been a very nice experience for me. Now, I use the computer because I really don't have anyone to write a letter too. I did enjoy this post though.

    Katie :)