Tuesday, September 2, 2014

FORGOTTEN CRAFTS | A HANDWRITTEN LETTER




Do you remember how you felt the last time you opened an envelope to realise it was not a bill, but a thoughtful note from someone who cares about you?
If you’re anything like me, it was a pretty wonderful feeling.
Some of my most treasured memories of my beautiful Grandmother are contained within her letters. She wrote me so faithfully when I was growing up. She would always include a favourite Bible verse; a small prayer; an update on the garden; and would always remember where my life was up to. I'm so glad I've kept these letters, and know I will treasure them even more in the future.
In this day and age of instant digital communication it’s a rare thing to take the time to write, seal and post a letter. A letter demands time. A little more reflection on how to structure ones thoughts, to find the right words to express ones feelings..
How did you bring your heart to me and how did I bring my heart to you?  My dear, do other people cherish and love each other like we do? Are they really like us? I cannot live without you.
Have you ever expressed your love to someone as beautifully as this wife* to her beloved?
The history of recorded information begins with codes of knotted cord; moves to marks in stone; to scratches in metal plates; to the development of the alphabet and words; to writing on plants and leaves and animal skins; and finally to the invention of cotton paper**. 
The first recorded letter we have, dated around 500 BC, was written by the Persian Queen Atossa, daughter of Syrus and mother of Xerxes.
The earliest style, or writing implement, was created by the Greeks and involved sharpened wood, metal or bone. The first inking process was created by dipping a reed into cuttlefish secretion, which later developed to the use of quills, then to writing with lead and graphite from the 14th century.
Our Australian postal system was established in 1825, and the prepaid method that we know and love was developed in 1838. In 1966 a single stamp would set you back a humble four cents! The stamp is currently sitting at seventy cents, and if the past is anything to go by, it will continue on a steady rise from here.
There are approximately 5.1 billion mail items delivered each year – though I wonder how many of these contain a simple handwritten letter?  
I absolutely love receiving a written note no matter the length or purpose, but unfortunately the letters I send have become few and far between. This is one forgotten craft that does not take too much re-arranging of a busy lifestyle to implement, so I’m going to get to it.
When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone you care about?

If you're a little stuck with where to begin, the Letter Writing Guide gives a number of handy tips, and outlines the rules for writing different types of letters.

How to write a friendly letter
Purpose of a Friendly Letter:
A friendly letter (or informal letter) is a way of communicating between two people (sometimes more) who are usually well acquainted. There are many uses and reasons for writing a friendly letter but friendly letters will usually consist of topics on a personal level. Friendly letters can either be printed or hand-written.

Friendly Letter Writing:
The friendly letter is typically less formal than that of a business letter. Usually the first paragraph of the body will consist of an introduction which will give the recipient an idea about why you're writing to them with a short summary of the main topic of your letter. If you don't know the person you are writing to, you may want to introduce yourself in this introductory paragraph as well.
The next few paragraphs will usually consist of the message you want to get across along with any details you may want to convey.
The last paragraph will usually be the conclusion where you wrap everything up. You can sum up your main idea in this paragraph, thank the recipient for their time, wish the recipient well, and/or ask any questions.
Since friendly letters are less formal, you can feel free to write it however you like, but the above format is fairly common.


* Read a collection of historical letters here
** Read a more thorough and accurately detailed history here

Post by Nicole

11 comments:

  1. I still write notes and letters and cards and send them. I try to be organised about doing it but usually it's when the whim takes me. Have you been watching ANZAC Girls and all those letters back and forth with half spoken truths and carefully crafted scenes of home life and life in the field. Without those letters this tale could not have been told.

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    1. I'm not so organised either Katie - I've found a note/letter hiding in my car a few times to discover it's been there for months waiting to be posted! sounds like something I'll have to check it out..

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  2. I too have been lamenting the demise of the hand written letter, and to that end I have challenged myself to write a letter a week during 2014. So far I am pretty much on target. Sadly the replies have been less forthcoming than I had hoped! Eleanor xx

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    1. Wow that's a great idea! I'm impressed you've stuck to it so far.. don't give up!

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  3. I love to write letters. I write to my mother in law and my aunty and send them pics of the kids.

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  4. I think we should go back to the days of pen friends that would be fun! Lisa Mckenzie

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    1. Me too Lisa!! I'm sure it still happens - I have a sponsor child in Indonesia and we write like pen pals - I love reading her notes..

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  5. Such a good reminder. I used to write to my grandmother all the time. Time to get back into that habit before I miss my chance.

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    1. So true. I took this opportunity to send some love to mine - I know she'll be chuffed : )

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  6. Oh, what a beautiful wooden pencil case! I am a dedicated letter writer to a couple of girlfriends who live afar, but this is a wonderful reminder to send letters to those near and dear too :)

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em