Monday, April 12, 2010
L is for Letters
Let me put it to you another way, Company. When an important figure dies or retires, what are they always concerned with? Their papers. Nobody ever, in their textbook, takes quotes from an e-mail that Arthur B Goodcock wrote to his cousin about the creation of an independent Mozambique? No. It's always a letter that they wrote. Former Presidents don't have websites devoted to their papers and work while in office. No - they have the Gerald Ford Presidential Library, not the Gerald Ford Presidential Website.
Here's the deal: there is something about a letter that is so much more intimate than e-mail or Telex or even a telephone call. Sure, sure, you are going to stand there and give me a big thing about how personal a telephone call is because you are actually talking to the person - person to person. Well that might be true but you are going to just text them anyway. Seriously though, telephone is great and all, and I understand you point, but the letter just goes beyond. You have to take the time to formulate your thoughts. You have to actually go through the physical act of writing down what you want to say - making the ink flow through the pen or causing the layers of graphite to slip off and adhere to the paper - in order to get your point across. It is so much more work and effort to get to the same place. It's like the difference between ordering out and making a home cooked meal. And I haven't even gotten started on the whole stamp and mailbox business.
So, the long and short of it here, Company, is that I have been trying to write more letters, in order to give a more personal touch to my correspondence. Plus, I like it. So there. I would encourage you to do the same, for a myriad of reasons. First of all, it's going to help the Postal Service or the Royal Mail or whomever carries the mail in your part of the world. Second, it will let people know that you are about them a little bit extra. Third, people love to get mail that is not bills. Hang out in the bushes near a local mailbox and watch as people look at their mail, and notice the instant brightening of their faces as they see mail from someone. It's magical, and you know how much you like it when you get something in the mail.