Something occurred to me late last night as I opted to knock out my letter early in the week for a change. Of course I realized that, by nature, mailing letters requires a recognition of time and how it plays into the whole equation. Unlike when you send a text message, shoot an email, or have phone conversation, your words take more than a brief moment to get to someone. The world we live in calls for efficiency first. Faster phones, faster internet, how quickly can you communicate a message? And more importantly, how quickly can you receive a message? Thinking about this reminds me of a paper I wrote this time last year about Slow Food. It’s all a fast way of life, and I know I certainly buy in. And in most cases, I’m okay with saying “that’s just how it goes” and this is only problematic in minor ways. Certainly, there are parts of our lives that deserve more time and attention to quality, and maybe for most of us the satisfaction of writing and receiving a letter is one of those things we’re willing to sacrifice for the ease of communication modern technology offers. But it is so satisfying. I don’t know how many of you have sat and penned a letter by hand recently, but there’s something special about the process. On the other hand, it’s pretty frustrating waiting for a letter to get to someone. And you have to factor in how you’re going to feel about what you’re writing four or five days from the present moment. It’s hard for me to allow myself to write in the moment, recognizing the delay that’s unavoidably part of the process.
All this to say I wrote and mailed a letter last night. And for the first time through this whole process, I’m nervous for the moment when my words will reach hands.
I kind of really love it.