Editorial: Make a note of it

It might be an over exaggeration to say cursive writing is all the rage, but it has seen a bit of a surge in popularity here recently. Why not take that skill and write a letter?

A real letter — not an email, a text, a Facebook post, or a direct message — a letter, with a pen, on paper.

Back in the days before instant communication and emojis we wrote letters. We wrote to our parents from camp, to our friends away at college, a thank you letter to Grandma for a birthday present. We wrote love letters. We’d check our mailbox each day in anticipation of hearing from someone special

Handwritten letters have a certain intimacy. Our handwriting was as identifiable as our fingerprints. We can remember our grandmother’s steady, neat penmanship. We could recognize instantly our high school girlfriend’s big, bubbly penmanship with her i’s dotted with hearts.

Our handwriting is as individual as our voice — in many ways, it was our voice. We should use for more than signing checks, if any of us even do that anymore.

There is something deliberate about writing letters. In some ways, a letter is a gift. It’s a gift of our time, of our patience —  it’s a gift of ourselves.

Pen and paper doesn’t have spell-check — they don’t have an undo button or a backspace. There’s no autocorrect. A letter makes us pause — to take our time to think out our sentences, and what kind of message we want to send. Letters are special remembrances of those we have lost, they are lessons and traditions we can pass on for generations to come.

Coming across old letters — during spring cleaning, perhaps — deepens our memories.  Show them to your children and encourage them to write letters — letters to their friends over the summer at camp, or to their grandparents. It’s a great opportunity to practice their cursive handwriting.

Put down the cell phone or the laptop and pick up a pen. Reaching out is easier than ever — we can text as quickly as we breathe. But maybe our communication could sometimes be less utilitarian, and more passionately a piece of us, a joy to create and a gift to receive, and a therapeutic experience for both the writer and the receiver.