Sunday, July 31, 2011

The ancient art

I owe L an apology. 

Let me start at the beginning.

Once upon a time, back last century, when I first left home to attend university, I lived for the first year in the halls of residence on campus.  Email was very uncommon back then, only post grad students at the university had access to it.  So I kept in touch with all my family and friends with old fashioned, pen and paper kind of letters.  Does anyone else remember those?  I remember writing 3 or 4 page long epistles, describing all sorts of daily adventures, thoughts and musings, and general conversation.  I remember the excitement at checking the mail each day, and it was a depressing day when my mailbox was empty.

Writing letters was fun.  You didn’t just get to tell the stories of your daily life, you could decorate the letter in lots of creative ways, and include interesting clippings and other treasures.  And there was the pleasure of buying nice stationery and pens.

That was the good old days.  And then came the arrival of email.  At first email was good.  I would still exchange the newsy chatty letters, but now they would get there instantly.  But slowly it deteriorated.  My inbox became filled with emails that you had to scroll down two screens of everyone’s forwarded email addressed just to read some lame joke that someone thought was funny enough to pass around.  I found I was reading very little in the way of real news and correspondence from my friends.  Once I filtered out the spam, I was left with business type emails, and not much else.  A bit like how my physical mailbox only brought me bills.

Sometime ago, I drew up a list of a few friends that I thought would be interested (mostly those that hadn’t found their way onto my social media sites) and sent out a series of Real Letters.  I got a few replies electronically, and it was lovely to actually get a chatty newsy email again.  But L was the only friend to enter into the spirit of the correspondence and reply by “snail mail”.  And so for more than a year I’ve had again the pleasure of a REAL correspondence.

But now comes the bit about the apology.  I’ve been overdue to write to L for more than a month.  And I don’t have any real excuses.  I’ve probably been spending too much time reading and writing blogs. 

Today I got out my fountain pen and ink, and my notepad, and again revived the ancient art of letter writing.  I wrote about stuff that would normally be too private for sharing publically on a blog.  I wrote my thoughts as they occurred, without editing, as part of a conversation.  Then I had an enjoyable walk on the sunny Sunday afternoon down to the post box to send it on its way.

So L, I apologise for the delay, but rest assured, your letter is on its way to you now, and you’ll hopefully have it by Tuesday.

P.S.  If anyone else is interested in a snail-mail correspondence, email me at with your details.


  1. I still write letters!

    And I still send thank you letters.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I'm glad to know it's not just me.