Opinion

Lost art of writing letters

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Oklahoma Panthers Fan
This Jan. 15, 2015 image from video shows a handwritten response by Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson at the bottom of a letter written to the club by Cade Pope, displayed in Yukon, Okla. Richardson responded to the 12-year-old asking him to support to the NFL franchise. Pope wrote all 32 teams asking the same question. (AP Photo/John L. Mone)

If you’ve received a handwritten letter before, you know the excitement of carefully opening the envelope and reading what someone took the time and thought to write. But with the advent of instant messages, the slow and steady practice of the handwritten letter slowly withers away.

We love email for its brilliance: fast, free, global. Without a paper, pencil or those annoying eraser shavings, emails represent a clean and efficient means of communications. But think of what we sacrificed for instant messages. We lost the personal aspect of messages: conveying our character and personality through our handwriting.

In our fast-paced world, it seems that no one can find the time to write a letter. When we’re finished with classes, we’re studying. When we finish our shift at work, we’re eating. When we get back from our internship, we’re sleeping. All day, all night, we always have something on our plate. Adding up all the hours, we barely have any time left for ourselves.

I understand some people simply don’t have the time to take out of their day for a handwritten letter. But that’s it right there. That’s what makes a letter infinitely special.

Someone who loves you and cares about you will make the time to sit down at his or her desk and think long and hard about what they want to say to you. They’ll find the right words and arrange them the right way. They’ll make sure their grammar is perfect and their flow is flawless. Their syntax shoots straight and their structure stands strong. They’ll spend hours on end crafting their message, making sure each letter lays in the right place. All to make sure they correctly convey their sentiment to you.

It’s the time and effort taken out of our endless days that makes a letter one of a kind. You can’t screenshot a text and reread it a year later. It’s impersonal and looks like any other text.

But a handwritten letter, once you get one you hold on to it. Don’t believe me? Simply watch “The Notebook.” You reread it a year later, and the same emotions and passions that you felt before rush back. They strike you hard and fast and serve as a reminder. A reminder that someone cared for you enough to convey how they felt in an archaic medium.

But it doesn’t have to be archaic. We can bring it back.

If you need a reason to bring back handwritten letters, ask around campus: “How do you remind your girlfriend or boyfriend you love them?” You’ll probably hear: “I send a text,” or “I snapchat her” or even “I poke her on Facebook.” And again ask people “How do you break up with your girlfriend of boyfriend?” You’ll probably hear: “I act like it, and hope she gets the hint,” or “I leave her a voicemail,” or even, “I leave her mom a voicemail.”

Text less, write more. Bring back the personality of a message. Sacrifice a portion of your day to write to someone you love. Your letter can be as long as a story or as short as a sentence. Whatever length it may be, I guarantee that your handwritten letter will move them more than any text message will.

And if you have yet to receive a handwritten letter, send me an email and I’ll write you one.

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