Thoughts about writing letters


Yesterday while I was walking home, a man came out of the post office just ahead of me and opened and started reading a letter as he walked. By the time I had caught up with him he had stopped dead in the path, oblivious to me or anyone else on the street, reading intently. I could see the letter was hand-written. As he devoured the words, a little smile played about the corners of his mouth. I walked on, smiling too.

Earlier this week I saw a segment on The Project on Channel 10. They were talking about Australia Post and the cost of sending mail. After showing the segment, Carrie Bickmore told the panel that she had recently read a letter that one of her grandmothers had written to the other, several decades ago. It was beautiful, Carrie said, and it highlighted why snail mail would still have a place in our lives today, and tomorrow. "Nobody is going to keep an email I send."

The STUNNING blue-and-gold letter in these pictures is from Maria, a truly generous and talented woman from Mexico. Maria is a writer, and a literature professor, and in her letter she told me about her cat, among other things. From her simple and heartfelt words I feel like Maria is already a kindred spirit. I can't wait to write back to her.

I posted a photograph of Maria's letter on Instagram yesterday, and a friend of mine in Sydney left a comment that her grandfather used to send them all mail-art. She's going to try and get hold of some envelopes that her mother has kept from the 70s and 80s to show me. Even 30, perhaps 40 years on, the love and care he put into decorating his letters to his children and grandchildren is still physically manifest, and able to be shared and loved with and by others.

I declare today the International Write A Letter To Someone You Love Day. Who's with me?