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Monday, February 22, 2016

Lost Art

It is infrequent that we get a letter any more. With the advent of texting (which I do not do), Fax,, Email, messaging etc. the art of letter writing has gone the way of the dinosaur. I still write the occasional letter to close friends but when you write someone and don't hear back that too wanes..
They do not even teach cursive in school anymore or letter writing skills. "Back in the day" when writing a letter to family, friend or for business you would sit down with paper and pen and actually think of what you wanted to say and then put it down on paper. You would read it over and make sure it was representative of what and how you wanted the recipient to accept it.

You had to think about what you wanted to say and how you wanted to say it. Sometimes it would take several days to write a letter. In contrast with today's standards you type it out on your I-phone, tablet or computer and click on send and its gone. You can usually tell if the other person is on line or not so you expect an instant reply or dialog. If you don't get an immediate reply you become upset. It now seems everywhere I go someone is talking while walking through a store or while waiting for car repair on their cell phone. Those who are not on their cell phone are looking down at it sending text messages is modern day coded language.

It is little wonder that so many people are angry now days with the instant news flashes or communication. Little effort is made to insure the coded message is phrased right so not to offend the recipient. If what you said angers or confuses them you can instantly correct the mistake. If there is a set of proper rules for email or texting I have not seen it. It used to be we would look forward to receiving a letter from a friend or family. We could sit down and read it over and over and share the words with others. You also knew someone was interested enough in you to take time to get out the paper and pen, sit down and put their thoughts into order and then address an envelope and mail the letter to you. Now days if you get a card on special occasions it may have a single line with a signature.

I think some things are worth keeping and letter writing is one of those arts that should not be lost. Writing a letter requires good sentence structure, penmanship, and organized thought. Now the first thing that flashes in your mind gets sent at warp speed to the recipient. There is spell check and automatic correction that changes your message. Writing with a dictionary at hand is no longer needed. If you are having a bad day as we all do on occasion it is promptly transmitted to others in a text, tweet, face book posting or a host of other ways. When I would get a letter that was not right I was able to re-read it and actually give thought to whether the sender was having a bad day, was upset with me or some issue. I would then have time to think of how to respond. If my response was not good I would let the letter sit for three days and then re-read it and if I didn't like it I would change the wording to make it better.

Personally I miss the rapidly lost art of letter writing and perhaps the instant communications today has some contribution toward the anger everyone seems to possess. I found out from a friends son after he passed away that he had kept every one of my letters to share with his family when they visited him. It is sad that letter writing is disappearing.

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