Letter writing for the soul

A messy wooden tabletop with some books, an analogue clock, a brown messenger bag, a pot of pencils, as well as ink and a fountain pen.

Why send a letter when we can send a text?

I didn’t realise how special handwritten letters were until I found some from a time I exchanged letters with a friend. The ones she wrote to me were on decorative paper, embellished with stickers, and carefully packed in a stamped envelope. We used to exchange postcards from art galleries and share our love of art with each other.

In comparison to texting, which is often done on the go, the feeling of putting some time aside to especially pay attention to writing and the physical act of putting pen to paper is so satisfying. In a world where I find my mind constantly racing, this forces me to slow down and connect with my thoughts, think about how to express my feelings and convey them to the receiver. Even when receiving a letter, you get to step into the mind of the sender to read about their experiences and feelings.

I remember when I walked into a vintage store, they had a box full of French postcards from the 1900s. Luckily I had a friend by my side who could translate them for me. They were vacation postcards of people sending messages back to their loved ones. They would write about their adventures for the day, their plans and how the weather was. I realised that sending a letter didn’t have to call for a special occasion or some profound thoughts. It could simply be about a new experience, a delicious cooking recipe that went well, or not so well…

What’s even more special is our ability to keep those letters. I keep mine in a “nostalgia box” filled with old birthday cards and photographs. I occasionally open that box when I have something to add or just remember its existence. Sifting through those items so carefully put away unlocks old memories and emotions, a break from the bustling life of today to appreciate your past self, relationships and experiences.

Have you exchanged letters before?


Tagged in What messes with your head, mindfulness