Write a Letter, A REAL Letter! April is National Card and Letter Writing Month. Technology is taking over every aspect of our lives, our socializing, and our minds. As a society we are spending more and more of our time looking at screens and doing more and more of our communicating electronically. All electronic communication takes energy, can be emotionally draining, and is often less meaningful that more traditional personal means of communication. Think back to the last time you received a letter, a real handwritten letter from a friend. How did you feel when you saw it in your mailbox, in amongst all the bills, advertisements and other junk mail? Did you open it first? Did you get all excited? Did you think, "That's so nice, I should write back" - and then not write back?
To complete this challenge, write a letter to a friend or family member, preferably one you don't see on a regular basis. You can make a card, draw a picture, or maybe buy a card made by a local artisan. Hand write the letter, and hand address the envelope. Be sure to put your return address on, so they can write back. Tell them a bit about what you've been doing lately, maybe tell them about Vermontivate and something you've learned from playing this year. Maybe invite them to play and join your team.
Let us know how it went. Did you get on a role and just keep on writing? Did you run out of things to say or space to say it? If you get a letter back, we'd love to hear about that too!
According to letter writer and auther Samara O'shea, here are five great reasons to go back to writing REAL letters.
1. The Test of Time - Provided you don't tear up your box of love letters in the face of a bad break up, you will have them your whole life. Your grandchildren can find them in the attic someday, and they'll then meet a young version of you who they never knew. Much of what we know of history comes from letters. Letters are a chance for all of us to leave a legacy.
2. The Sincerity Factor - Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of e-mail and the occasional text message, but they don't take much time. The people we love are worth our time and effort. A letter is a tangible testament to how much the recipient means to us or how grateful we are for something that person has done (a la thank-you notes).
3. Let the Language Live On - We have access to English--a lovely, complicated language--and we rely on short, clumsy acronyms and emoticons to express ourselves. Which would you prefer?
A text message that says: I Luv U
A letter that says: My dear Girl I love you ever and ever without reserve. The more I have known you the more have I loved. In every way--even my jealousies have been agonies of love, in the hottest fit I ever had I would have died for you. (Excerpt from a letter written by John Keats in March 1820).
4. I Hate Junk Mail - Don't you? A handwritten envelope found amidst catalogs and credit card bills is the equivalent of a still-cold canteen in the middle of the desert. It's refreshing and gives you reason to keep going.
5. Letters Save Lives - Amnesty International has effectively used letters to plead on behalf of human rights for over 40 years. The Global Aids Alliance Web site also asks its visitors to write letters to local government officials and heads of states. They offer e-mail as an option but suggest that printed letters send a stronger message. They provide form letters but also implore, "Please write your own letter--your words are more powerful than a form letter!"