Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reclaiming the Note

Even an ordinary handwritten note is better than the best email, and a good handwritten note on the right occasion is a work of art. It says to the reader, "You matter to me, I thought of you, I took trouble on your behalf, here's who I am, I've been thinking of you in the days since this was mailed, I want to share with you the textures and colors and images that I like." And that's just the unspoken messages, the pleasure anticipated before before the reader even reads the words that the pen and paper have inspired you to choose. The reader can reread what you sent and think good thoughts about you. A note can deliver all this for less than a dollar's worth of materials and ten minutes of your time. 
[from The Art of the Handwritten Note: a guide to reclaiming civilized communication by Margaret Shepherd]

Yes, yes, yes! I don't know why even I own this book - it's not so much something that I need to read, as something I'd like to give everyone I know. To post one page of it every day as a status on Facebook until maybe, just maybe, at the end of 145 days some sort of positive change would have been effected and everyone would exchange addresses as a final act before deleting their accounts and switching to paper and pens.

The written word - especially the handwritten word - excites me. The artistic part of me revels in calligraphy and hand lettering, in choosing the pen and ink and style and canvas that best augments the words themselves. The Sherlock-Holmes part of me is fascinated by handwriting analysis, and the ability to gauge mood and temperament and so much about a person and the kind of day they were having just by their penmanship. There is more ability to accurately read between the lines and far less danger of misunderstanding through the handwritten note, I think, than through any digital (even typed and printed) form of communication.

And in a world where it is so easy to fire off a hastily typed reply without having fully comprehended the other's point or had time to accurately word your own perspective, misunderstanding is sadly prevalent. If we would slow down... look through another's eyes... carefully phrase our own view and articulate it with kindness and mutual respect... I think we'd all find that there are less things to disagree about than we think there are. Ms Shepherd chose her title very well - the art of the handwritten note is in danger of being lost and so must be reclaimed, and with it the respectfully openminded ability to fully and lovingly express ideas.

I'm linking up with Kaitlyn Bouchillon to write about the written word - and joining other #fmfpartysnailmail ladies in this and in the joy of sending and receiving folded rectangles of handwritten encouragement every week.


Angie Webb said...

Glad you are enjoying the snail mail group as well. Glad to connect.

Dawn Paoletta said...

I love your excitement as well as that opening quote! I have always loved giving and receiving mail...it is rather magical.

Kaitlyn Bouchillon said...

Oh that's a great quote! But I loved how you put it - folded rectangles of handwritten encouragement!