The Art of Correspondence

Last night I attended the last Paging Columbus event of 2012 at the OSU Urban Arts Space and was honored to be a part of the panel! Alongside Kaitlin Sockman (of Ink & Ivory) and Professor Beth Hewitt (of OSU) – we discussed the Art of Correspondence and how it fits into our culture today. I was absolutely fascinated by the knowledge and insight that Beth brought to the discussion. Did you know that mail has always been predominately impersonal? It is often romanticized when we look to the past but most people have always received political mailers and bills. When it was personal…sending a letter was a way to express that, while you couldn’t be there in person, this letter should help you feel that I am present.

When I actually do write a letter, I tend to be generic and template-like.

Dear Grandma,

Thank you so much for the gift. I really appreciate it and hope you’re doing well. It was great to see you during the holidays and I hope to see you again soon!

Love,

Allie

BORING. So how do we bring intimacy and thoughtfulness back into letter writing? With Facebook and Instagram – it would seem foolish to write a letter to someone telling them what they already know and see. Are we putting too much out there? To the point that we don’t have much else to talk about in person or through letters?

On the contrary, I do feel that emails, posts and blogs can still have meaning. I try to be very thoughtful in anything that I post online and cherish emails that I have from my grandpa when AOL was super popular (ahh dial up).

What do you think? Is letter writing a lost art form? Is it just as special to pick out a beautiful card/envelope and write a quick note? Do you still send thank you notes via snail mail?

December 7, 2012