Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lost Arts

So I'm reading the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (I know, I know, I'm behind the times) and it has me wanting to take up letter writing - except for two tiny little details.  1) I don't have a steady return address so by the time I sent a letter there would be no guarantee that I would still be at my return address to receive a reply.  And 2) No one writes letters anymore.

I feel like letter writing is one of those lost arts, victims of efficiency.  Why write a letter when an email is faster and cheaper?

But is fast always a good thing?  When you write a letter, you take the time to say what you want and say it well.  And it lasts.  Emails last forever but they feel transient because they aren't physical.  I just can't picture digging up an old box of love emails my grandma wrote to my grandpa.  No handwriting to puzzle through, no sense that they touched those pages, held them all those years ago.  Is this a way the internet makes us less connected, even as it makes us more connected?  Is Goodnight Tweetheart the modern sequel to the epistolary novels of old?  

I still write in journals, even though I type at about three times the pace I write by hand.  My thoughts are crisper scrawled in purple pens across the pages.  I find I think different things.  Would the conversations we have via email be different if we knew they had to withstand the time spent in the post and still be relevant?  Would we be different for the changes in the conversations we have in the post, for the different thoughts we think in that slower mode?  Is letter writing an art we should save?  Or is it a fatality of the times, dead and unwept?

1 comment:

liztalley said...

I think it is a lost art, but it's not one I bemoan the most. I bemoan the loss of good conversation. In a world where everyone's looking down at their phones at every chance they get, I fear the lost art of conversation. Heck, do kids even know how to flirt anymore?

My son (10) told me he had a girlfriend. I said, "Really? I've never seen you talk to her." He said, "We text each other." I asked, "Do you talk to her?" He looked at me like I was insane. "We text."

And that's a relationship? I mean, they're 10 years old and it's not "real" but WOW. They don't speak....

Good topic, Viv