In the era of silicon chips, where e-mails are the currency of distant dialogue, the humble hand written letter has become a thing of the past. Let's face it, our world has become and global village spun from fibre optics.
Communication is woven into immediacy. We value the instantaneousness that has become a communicative standard. So what becomes of the fate of something that takes days to reach its destination? What becomes for something that doesn't have spellcheck, grammar check, auto correct and save for later?
Things are accelerating. After all it isn't called snail mail for no reason. Real letters require effort to execute. And if you're anything like me and can type much faster than you can hand write it also requires you to slow down your thinking to snail's pace. You'll probably have to keep your writing neat too. How many friends would you be able to distinguish by their handwriting alone? Despite being able to communicate with the family via phone and video link, troops still send mail home.Why?
It's written by the hand that's reluctantly been on a gun and scrambled for fire cover. There is something intangible about the exchange of ink on paper and by the hand that signs it. Something that strikes a chord in all of us, that unblinking, open wound. The frailty of what it is to be human - and to crave a meaningful exchange. So now I send real letters as well as emails, tweets, instant messenger and phone texts etcetera. It may not be as fast. But I love it. "Of course, letters by their nature document periods of separation." [Fiona Capp, In the Garden, The Montly, June 2009]