Has the Art of Letter Writing been Lost?

2015-03-27 07:35


“A good handwritten letter is a creative act, and not just because it is a visual and tactile pleasure. It is a deliberate act of exposure, a form of vulnerability, because handwriting opens a window to the soul in a way that cyber communication can never do. You savour their arrival and later take care to place them in a box for safe keeping.”

I recently stumbled across a box containing letters I had written to friends, family and PenPals across the world, and letters written to me from the very same people, which I had carefully stowed away at the very back of my cupboard. These letters dated back to - at the risk of showing my age - a time when cartoons such as Recess and Doug were still “in”.

Finding this box of treasured memories got me wondering… Has the Art of letter writing been lost?

With the advent of technology and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (the list is endless) I have, over the years managed to get back in touch with many long lost friends. But after reading through my recently found letters, I realised that the communications we now have with friends and family alike are no longer expressive, instead, these conversations are neither deep nor profound.

So while we do speak – or chat - every day, one has to ask, are we really in touch?

In a world where we are constantly “WhatsApping” and “Tweeting”, very little is actually being said. We substitute human emotions with punctuation :) , :( and emoticons (“emojis”) in the hope that this would convey the nuances of our life. Our vocabulary has even been shortened into “acronyms” (if you can call them that) such as, “LOL, OMG and (the much dreaded) BAE” to name a few.

On a more serious note, it has been documented that the majority of students are leaving High School without the necessary reading and writing skills required to succeed in University and at a Career. And the introduction of iPads and Tablets in schools as a replacement to Notebooks and Textbooks has done little to help this cause.

Now I know you all might be thinking, “times have changed, get with the program”. Letter writing aside, children introduced to these technological inventions at an early age are losing gross motor skills vital for their development.

Sadly, I suppose in this age of mobility we simply don’t have the time for long, flowing handwritten letters anymore…

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