I did a workshop earlier in the week and one thing has played on my mind since. It revolves around writing.
Writing was one of the words that came up for ways that we communicate, and when it was being labelled as how we would use writing it was given the title of – formal. I did not agree and my examples of forms of writing that would be anything but formal created a worrying reaction.
My three forms were poetry, which had little reaction, personal letters, and love letters. Now I am not in the position of being lovey dovey, and to be honest, I view the whole love thing rather sceptically at the present, so I am not on loves ‘side’, but the reaction that love letters got was – saddening.
It was riotous laughter, laughter at the very thought of having a love letter past the age of, what was called middle school, 8-12. I don’t know whether it is my age, or the fact I am a writer that still has the personal connection to ink and paper, also, for clarification, I love my ebooks – so it’s not a bias thing either.
Love letters have been found that were sent from grandmother to grandfather after they have passed away, stored for decades, and one hopes re-read from time to time. Some have had simple things like dried flowers with them, as a prop to stimulate the memory – this sentence should clarify one has never sent nor received such a letter in adulthood – and stories have been told how the letters used to be sent with a spray of perfume, a photograph or lock of hair, again reinforcing the memory with sensory stimuli. You just cannot get this effect with an email, gif and an emoji. Look past the history of the events in the letters you can see the love between two people blossom, a side that no-one may have seen, not even their children. There is a power in the letters, which is why I believe they are saved, and sometimes cherished, right up to deaths door.
As a non romantic I hope that the love letter prevails past the instant technology, with it also the thought process that comes with the old fashioned way of writing; The implement – should it be the more expensive pen that writes smoothly with a uniform flow of ink? Or maybe the fountain pen, a pen that requires more time, patience in the pace and more control in the letters? The paper, coming from an artist, is just as important as the words used, some paper is ‘warmer’ than others, not only in colour but also in texture, making the choice of pad and envelope vastly important to how the letter is received before even opening. The whole process is tactile.
Wow a whole paragraph on just pen and ink, geek much?
One wonders if the group had a love letter sent to them, on and in quality paper, written with ink, emotion and style – would they laugh? Or would that letter touch a place in their heart; a place that they had forgot was there?
I do however find it sad that I , loves cynic, one who ponders what it wants, what its motives are, was also the only one in the group that believes that letters are also informal.