Is letter writing a lost art?

I like letters. I like to get them, and I like to write them. Sometimes I write on note cards or lined notebook paper, but most of the time, I email my letters. It doesn’t take me long to write a detailed letter because I just think of the person I am writing and talk about all my news that might interest that person. I am thorough in my business letters as well.

I especially enjoy sending out emails to my boys. Sometimes I get carried away with fanciful stories elaborating on something that happened and just flying with it. For example, once I found an empty gun cartridge by the cat food dish. How it got there and where it came from, I had no idea, but since my son, Tyler, hunts, I thought he might know something about it. I told him how I found it before going into a story about how I thought there was a pet mutiny being planned, who might be trying to set up whom, and how I deducted that the dog was the guilty party, though one of the cats, the one most innocent looking, might be the mastermind. I laughed so hard as I wrote that sometimes I had tears so I envisioned my boy reading it, chuckling and having a fine time with his letter. How did he respond? With one sentence that the bullet was his. That’s it. No thanks for an entertaining letter. No objections regarding the accused pet or any response defending any pet. Nope. Just one sentence was all I got.

The cats are always finding items in Tyler’s room to bat around. I found paper clips all over the place where paper clips were not supposed to be.  I didn’t bother concocting a story about them, though my fingers itched and my smile twitched.

For Tyler’s college graduation, I wanted to know if his refrigerator freezer had room for two buckets of ice cream for the post-graduation party. His email back to me said one word: yes. How crushing. That’s all he could write? Yes???

My other two sons aren’t much better. It seems as if they take keeping things short to the extreme. With Isaac, I have to go back to my letter to find out what the coded reply means. He just answers all the questions with one word or a short sentence with no reference to what he is talking about. If he gets things out of order, confusion will surely ensue.

Nathanial may go a very long time before he checks his email. His excuse is that he spends all day on the computer. If I really need to get a hold of him, texting works. Now, he will usually respond to my emails. He is patient and helps me with my technical questions. He keeps it brief and to the point though. No newsy emails. If he has news, he’ll call. That’s always good, of course.

I just wonder though, is it just me, or don’t young people value letters for the sake of letters? It’s through letters that my husband and I discussed our hopes and dreams and what was happening in our lives while we were apart while we dated. I still have handwritten letters from important people in my life. (That’s another thing that has changed. Our letters are rarely handwritten anymore.)

I know a few of my friends value letter writing. It’s still a wonderful way for us to communicate and to stay involved in each other’s lives. My kids get my silly letters though, the ones that tickle my funny bone. My daughters think they’re funny and tell me I’m crazy. Kaitlyn said recently that she can’t wait until she’s in college so she can get my silly letters. Maybe girls are different than boys that way. At least I know she’ll appreciate them and the effort. It’s my way of saying, “Hey, I’m thinking of you. I love you. How are you?”

A recent email to Tyler told him about Mittens playing soccer with golf balls in my bedroom after midnight. If I hadn’t been so exhausted from my day, she would have had to endure my wrath. As it was, I must have dropped off to dreamland again—that or she knocked me out with a golf ball. Since there was no lump, it must have been the former. Still, you would think Tyler would be concerned.

Isn’t he even curious about what sort of ice cream I’m bringing to his apartment? If he were reading this now and writing me back, I predict he’d say and type this message: No.

Ha. Well, when I’m really old and can’t type so fast, I might just send him cryptic messages also. Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing letters to him and his brothers because one day, they might have need of such communication or at least have a little appreciation for the thought.

And besides it’s my love language—time and words.

Do you like receiving letters? Writing them?

7 thoughts on “Is letter writing a lost art?

  1. I wish I could use words like you do. My mind works fast then I type or write. Oh well old age gives new things new meaning each day…

  2. I agree that it’s a lost art, and I love reading letters and/or emails from friends who catch me up on their lives and are interested in mine. I love it that Kaitlyn can’t wait to get your “silly letters”…how fun!!!

    1. I have fun writing them so hopefully, she’ll enjoy them as much or more than the letters I write her brothers. 🙂 She’s already plotting how she’ll write me fun replies. I look forward to that!

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