a reason for letters

I recently watched a excellent TED Talk video – “Love Letters to Strangers” by Hannah Brencher who passionately describes the need for more and better “written” communication. As I am inspired daily by the burning desire to tell stories and share life experiences, I am also quite certain that the most appealing communication available to us in our attempt to convey thoughts, feelings and kindled activities should be reinstated via the hand written letter.

Looking back, I can more easily and happily recall special times and wondrous occasions via the notes, letters and cards celebrating a unique experience via a hand written thank you or just a few words in appreciation. I save those special communications in a private place I alone know where, for I am certain that I will revisit them as I grow older in an attempt to recall the very best of times.

“I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” ~ Mother Teresa

The power and persuasive content of written communications has somehow been forgotten, and though technology try as it may to improve our lives via regular electronic communication, an email or text cannot replace the energy, emotion and passion of a hand written letter. There have been countless passionate discharges when inspired to declare our adoration for a special someone, only to be burned or shredded in fear of our love being a singular, unshared expression of feelings and passion.

The exercise of writing from the heart onto paper is like no other, for we are brandishing ourselves to another, shameless, and endearing, we are wholly exposed. Our cursive scribblings are indeed an open expression of love as our soft underbellies lie open to the elements in anticipation of a positive response from the reader. We are ultimately vulnerable, naked to the elements, we are open to rejection and ridicule, how wonderful…

“Time is very slow for those who wait, Very fast for those who are scared, Very long for those who lament, Very short for those who celebrate, But for those who love time is eternal” ~ William Shakespeare

In a wonderful documentary collection about the Civil War, by Ken Burns describes in detail the amazing letters written by the soldiers of the North and South to their girl friends, wives and families during our greatest national trauma. What impressed me most was the eloquent prose, the wonderful handwriting, and the poetry of words and feelings conveyed in those letters from the battle field. In the midst of death and the dying there was great beauty in the words exchanged, it inspires me to write more eloquently and with far more passion than before.

Reading through several of these letters, it is apparent that few of the soldiers had little formal education, however the attempt to communicate their love and longing for family and loved ones is an example of the yearning that lies deep within us all.  “How my heart yearns for thou that are so near and dear to me”, is a common thread of desired communication written by lonely soldiers oftentimes written on the battlefields themselves. This impassioned desire to write from the heart I believe quite strongly is too often missing from our connection with others in our busy lives today.

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” – Bertrand Russell

An example of the welcomed written response I have felt in the past, I was once a regularly inspired young man in love I thought with a young woman who I would write greeting cards to in an attempt to convey my feelings for her. She was however with another and my attempts to convince her of the passion I felt deeply was in my mind wasting away and the frequency of my written composition dwindled to a standstill.

One afternoon she insisted that we meet for lunch, where upon she handed me a carefully wrapped package as she implored me to not give up on her. The package was filled with blank greeting cards and even the needed postage, for she was in love not with me as I had hoped, but with my written words, prose and poetry. She admitted that what I had been writing to her and her alone she openly shared with her girlfriends as they would sadly lament that they were so wanting to receive such expressions of care and adoration from the men in their lives.

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” ~ John Keats

I proclaim that the process of writing a love letter is as much for the sender as it is for the recipient. I will save all of the letters I write to a someone I adore from this day forward, I will read them when I am alone and I will attempt to derive the heart felt inspiration written for no other reason than to express my true feelings and hopefully carry it forward.

I may not send all of my letters to a hopeful beneficiary, but I will learn and grow from the heartfelt attempt as a man in the expression of love and yearning for embrace. For in expressing the wanting of my soul via my desire to express my feelings clearly and eloquently the attempts to convey my appreciation will hopefully empower any and all future letters and stories.

They may never receive all my letters, but then again it is in my desire to communicate, to enthuse and to convey a need to hold someone close not only in my arms, but with my words through my deepest feelings that I tell my story and of my life.


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