Monday, 28 April 2014

writing in the real sense


I have talked about writing, why I write about what I do and how much to share (any bloggers inner demon), here and here. But writing is not just something that keeps me sane. It is a skill instilled into me from a young age and one that has so much attachment to my personality. Sure shopping, a cup of tea and girlie wine time also do the trick, but writing is a personal and individual thing that can sometimes feel like a sort of self-help, internal therapy. Writing this blog is a little bit of a personal passion and has in turn allowed me to make some wonderful blogger friends and have some work published along the way.

But I was writing well before the blog took over my life. Since I can remember, I wrote. As a kid I wrote, or at least tried to write stories and my mum actively encouraged us to write thank you notes to friends and relatives after birthdays and christmas. It was part and parcel of the present opening process; unwrap, sit in awe of unwrapped gift and write down the name of the giver. It was just the way it was done in our family because from a young age my parents taught us manners and to show gratitude and thanks to people.

You would think that with the abundance of instant communication tools out there, like email and facebook and whatsapp that my thank you note writing days were over. But you would be wrong. As I got older and friends moved countries and I moved countries, the letter writing seemed even more poignant. I say that because when you're trying to maintain long distance relationships with friends, it is easy to rely on technology and forgo personalised interaction. But I know myself that receiving a handwritten letter carries with it much more weight than an email ever could.

There are many reasons for this; the effort someone incurred to actually post the letter for a start because it is all to easy to tap away at a keyboard and then press send. But the personal touches like handwriting, scribbles and mistakes not to mention holding pieces of paper in your hand that the writer held in theres, really gives you a sense of connection with that person. I have never cried over a whatsapp message but I sure have over a letter. 

“It is so important, in a digital world, to have the dignity to sit down and write something in your own hand,” (Cristiano Magni, a New York fashion publicist,, april 2014). 

As an expat, sometimes friends and family may not feel involved in your life anymore as you flit between countries. Writing a letter that smells like the beach when it is opened, or sending a postcard of the view you're staring at as you write it helps the receiver feel that connection to your life. 

“Like a lot of people in my generation, I might think, ‘Oh, just send them a text,’ ” said Ms. Gelderman, who is 20. “But I actually enjoyed writing the notes because in the process of opening a note, feeling the paper, seeing the imperfection of the writing, reading the message in another person’s voice, you actually feel like you have a piece of that person in your hand.” (Carroll Irene Gelderman,, april 2014). 

Where did this post come from? This great article published a few weeks ago on the NY Times website which notes that handwritten letters are on trend and that recent scientific findings have linked gratitude to increased optimism, stress reduction and a better night’s sleep. 

Do you write the old fashioned way? If so, tips on where you stock on up stationary would be greatly appreciated, oh and I have thing about finding the perfect pen so suggestions welcome. 

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