Dear friend, email vs snail mail (+ mail art)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Dear friend,

Why do you think we set up email and snail mail against one another, as if one was superior to the other? Electronic versus paper. Fast versus slow. Wireless versus tangible. Really they’re all just ways to communicate with one another, aren’t they? To reach out, to stay connected, to be part of… more.

I love that the movie You’ve Got Mail, a movie about falling in love - anonymously - over email was based on The Shop Around the Corner, which was a movie about falling in love - anonymously - over letters. You’ve Got Mail pays homage to The Shop Around the Corner in a hundred different ways, even in the style of writing used by two sets of pen-pals, almost 60 years apart.

But it also shows that there’s really not a lot of difference between the two forms of letter-writing, when it comes down to it. Both movies are light-hearted fun but as viewers, it’s not beyond our imaginations that two people might just fall in love with one another from their words alone, regardless of the medium through which those words are shared.

I guess that’s because humans are the ones doing the letter-writing, so the heart remains the same.

Still, I wonder.

“I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils, if I knew your name and address,” Joe Fox wrote, via email, to his pen-pal Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail. But if their movie had been about snail-mail instead of email, well, then, he could have gone ahead and sent her those newly-sharpened pencils. And newly-sharpened pencils would be rather nice to find in your letterbox, don’t you think? (If you are pondering whether or not to send me pencils through the mail, don’t hold back.)

Did I just disprove my own point, dear friend? It’s entirely possible, but then I’m still not so sure. I guess it’s something think about. I’ll write again soon.

Hope you are well. Yours truly, Naomi xo

ps. The letters below are from another batch of mail-art I recently sent to blog readers. You can see more here.

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