I used to have a collection of letters–handwritten on wide-ruled notebook paper–from old boyfriends, which I dutifully purged in the early years of my marriage. Now I wish I’d kept those. Not because I need the mementos or miss the men, but because these days I don’t get any handwritten letters on any paper from anyone.
I don’t send them, either. Cards? Sure. I’m not as good of a “card” person as many of my friends, but once in awhile when the calendar beeps from my computer screen and the stamps are within easy reach, I make it happen. Letters, however—not sure I’ve written one of those since the turn of the century.
I have letter-writing fantasies, especially when I’m deep in a Julia Quinn historical. I imagine myself at a little writing desk with a fine fountain pen, thick vellum paper (though, to be honest, I’m not sure what “vellum” actually is) carefully recording both my mundane thoughts and deepest philosophical yearnings for some far-away friend. I’d melt the candle wax in a blob onto the flap and press in my personal seal. My stamps would be images of venerable historical figures and I’d place them on the envelope upside-down to signify “love.”
But the draw of writing letters is the same as the problem of writing letters. To sit for 15 minutes or half an hour and write means that I HAVE 15 minutes to sit and write letters–when I should just shoot off an email and get back to recording receipts, writing a novel or folding towels.
And maybe that’s why getting a letter now feels like getting a gift. Someone gave up time for me. Someone dug into an overstuffed office drawer to find the pretty paper, licked the flap with their own tongue and trotted down to the mailbox just for me.
One thing is for sure–if I get another letter, ever again, I’m going to save it. I’m going to find a fabric ribbon (even if I have to drive to the craft store to get it) and tie a red bow around that letter and tuck it away in my underwear drawer or between the historical novels on my bookshelf.
What about you? Have you sent a letter in the last year? Have you gotten one?