Paula Rosenberg Freelance Writer: Online Portfolio

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Viewshound Personal Essay: Letter Writing

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Here is a recent article I published on Viewshound on the lost art of letter writing.

Viewshound Essay on Letter Writing

(Please note Viewshound’s website was closed in January of 2012, the link no longer works, but you can read the article as it appeared below)

The lost art of the letter

I was having difficulty finding time to call old friends and e-mail seemed like an impersonal way to stay in touch, so I resorted to letter writing.

By Paula Rosenberg – Wednesday 23 Nov 2011


The U.S. Postal Service is in a deficit, which may result in the discontinuation of mail services on Saturdays. Many feel that the increase in communication and services online over the past couple of decades has played a part in financial woes the postal system is experiencing.

There is no doubt that the internet has simplified our lives in many ways. We can bank, shop, and instantly communicate with one another. I certainly take advantage of these services myself. Why deal with writing a check, paying for postage, and worrying about whether your payment will get there on time when you can log on and instantly pay your bills?

One might think that snail mail has become obsolete in the digital age. There is no doubt that e-mail is more convenient when you just need to send a quick message or receive a timely response. However, nothing beats a receiving a handwritten note from a friend or family member. This is why I’ll never be completely online.

I have a hectic schedule between school, work, and social life. I found myself playing phone tag for months with several close friends who live in other states. Sending an e-mail seemed like an impersonal way to catch up with them. I decided instead to take the time to write letters to my chums.

Writing a heartfelt letter may take a little longer than typing up a two sentence, ‘How are you?’ e-mail, but it is much more personal. There is something about picking out note cards or stationary that speaks to you. Your penmanship becomes like your finger prints. It doesn’t matter if you have neat handwriting or perfect spelling. The recipient will recognize it to be yours. Reading something in the script of someone you care about is the closest thing to hearing their voice on the other end of the phone.
Writing letters offers a welcome distraction from work or school projects. I plan writing them around my homework. I would love to catch up with an old friend over the phone, but I don’t always have the hour I know the call will last. Plus when you have differences in time zones and work schedules, finding a moment that works for both parties becomes impossible. When I know I need to take a brief study break, I whip out my powder blue notepaper and spend fifteen or so minutes writing a letter. That’s all the time you need. When the recipient gets your note they’ll appreciate the effort you’ve made in putting a little more thought into your message.

I was pleasantly surprised that when I started writing letters to friends that they began to reciprocate the sentiment. There’s something exciting about coming home and finding a note from someone you love waiting for you. What a great way to take a few minutes for yourself when you’ve had a busy week. You can curl up with a cup of tea and read about what your friend has been up to, what advise he or she has to offer to the questions you posed in your last letter, or simply learn about the books or movies that he or she recommends to you.

I hope that letter writing becomes a steady tradition for my friends and me. Even though geography and our busy lives keep us a part, I feel a little closer to them since we’ve started our correspondences. Being online is certainly convenient, but e-mail will never replace a handwritten note from someone special.

Article category: Relationships
Article tags: U.S. Postal Service, letter writing, e-mail, friendship
Disclaimer: the views of the author are not those of ViewsHound or Publisha Limited.
Copyright © Paula Rosenberg, all rights reserved. License this in the Content Store.

Written by paularosenberg

November 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm

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