I love the artistic and personal aspect of letters, don’t you? The one-to-one… Some messages can be posted on Facebook or written up in a blog and that’s fine, but other messages are meant to be shared with only particular people. There’s something magical about writing and receiving personal letters – where you know the words are meant just for you or for one special friend. As I like to say in the talk I give on The Art of Letter Writing –
“The pleasure of a letter written just to me… why there’s practically a radiance to it!”
I can’t help but relate the subject of personal touch to the very different kinds of in-person conversations we might have. Talking to a group of people at a big party, as opposed to an intimate dinner or tea, suggests very different talk. There are many subjects we just wouldn’t want to bring up in a large crowd. Not only do we have to generalize our topics when lots of people are participating, but some information we would want to share with only certain people. And so it is with our writing. If a letter isn’t personal, if it’s just a lot of general chatter, it’s not nearly as special to write or receive. And it’s this Personal Touch that’s suffering in our modern age of electronic communication.
Today I spent part of the morning at a farmer’s market in my town of Hudson. I had a wonderful time strolling around, looking at all the goodies I might purchase. In the next few letters I write I’ll go into some details of my shopping experience if the particular correspondents enjoy this sort of thing, but other letter friends not interested in farmer’s market shopping won’t be bothered with these stories. That’s the thing, each letter we write (hand write I hope) and all our topics of conversation should be tailor-made to interest each of our correspondents. To make each letter we write unique, one-of-a-kind, (not like those carbon-copied holiday letters ) aimed at the interests of our correspondents, that’s one of the secrets to making a good and personal letter.
feasting your eyes on vegetables and flowers which you might buy and place in your own garden
or maybe you are the kind of person who simply likes hearing about beauty and reading descriptions of garden -like settings, with a few pictures inserted in the letters you receive, pictures to give you ideas for your own garden .
Maybe you’re an animal lover and you would like to hear about the people I met at the farmer’s market who run an Alpaca farm in Hudson called Whistler’s Glen Alpacas (www.whistlersglen-alpacas.com or http://www.alpacastore.com). Those Alpacas are so cute!
Maybe you’re a fashionista and you’d like to hear about the sweater-coat I bought today at the farmer’s market. It’s made from Alpaca yarn. (Shopping is funny. I went out today planning to buy only wax beans, but I came home with a whole lot more.)
or maybe you’re a knitter like me and you’d like to hear about the Alpaca yarn and pattern I purchased
in order to make this Twisted Shrug which converts into a hood or cowl scarf. It’s worked up on size 15 needles using only one skein of Alpaca yarn (approx. 150 yards).
But maybe you’re not like my wonderful pen friend Amelia who I wrote today. Amelia would enjoy all the above topics. You might not enjoy any of the above topics. That’s ok. If these topics bore you I’d try to find different topics you would enjoy. After all, I don’t write friends with the intention of boring them to death, and I hope you don’t either.
My “dead friend’ Robert Louis Stevenson said,
“The world is so full of a number of things I think we should all be as happy as kings”.
And because there are so many things to talk about and share in our personal letters we should have no trouble picking and choosing those topics which delight both our friends and ourselves. Don’t you agree?
So till we meet again, enjoy writing and receiving lovely personal letters. Enjoy some reflection and then some sharing. Hand write. Add some original art. The world has plenty of electronic chatter already, but what the world needs now, besides love sweet love, is more communication with the personal touch.
Let’s Get Personal!