We live on the screen. Our computer screen, our TV screen, our phone screen. My eyes hurt right now just looking at my lit Macbook. However, there is another way in which we can connect with our world. Letters. Sounds very old fashioned of me doesn’t it, but I have a friend who is currently doing a letter writing project for his senior graphic design course and it got me thinking that letters are a lost art.
In times of war, letters are a connection to a soldier’s family, a way to feel comfort. Before phones were common and the internet was in every nation, letters were our mode of communication. Each letter is unique to not only the writer but the receiver. A person’s handwriting, and choice of words can be a window into who they are. A letter more than any other form of communication (except for face-to-face) feels intimate, personal, and loving. Even a letter of sadness can bring closure to a person. A letter of happy news can bring joy. Any letter shows thought and care because someone took the time to write it, pick out the perfect stamp, and send it to you.
My friend Gerald who has been working on this project is a genius. A thoughtful genius. The idea was that he would send out personalized letters to friends and peers who provided their address in the hope that they would send something, anything back to him. He then compiled his mail and is in the finishing stages of binding a book that includes letters, drawings, envelopes, excerpts from books, and so much more.
His project has encouraged me to let go of some of the digital world I cling onto so often. As I inch closer to the end of my academic semester, with some free time in store, I think I’ll write a few letters to far away friends and remind them that there is more then screens.