Let’s slow down
I’ve decided I’m going to start writing more letters. I’ve got myself some good custom stationery and a cool pen. If you want to receive a note, email me your address. (Yes, that is laughably round-about).
I spend most of my day on a computer typing out words at a 1000 miles an hour. I probably send or reply to hundreds of communications a day. It’s all speed, efficiency, and accuracy. But it lacks almost any human element. And no, emoji’s don’t really do it. Modern communication feels soulless.
Email, slack, sms, mms, snapchats, hashtags, tweets. The bulk of communication I encounter day to day is so fast, my brain is barely able to form the thoughts before they get shoved out the door. I don’t sit and marinate in what I want to say before I ship it. And they’re almost always useful…transactional. I think sending less utilitarian information to people is a good thing.
There’s something really cool about tactile experience–you don’t really get it on a computer. I think that’s why there are geeks out there who buy insane things like fixed gear commuter bikes or mechanical keyboards (guilty). There’s a sort of ‘connection’ in the experience you don’t get otherwise.
Letters have more of
mein them. When I give it time enough to think over, I’m in a much more exposed place. Ol’ J. Willis Westlake says it the best:
letters are written when the mind is as it were in dressing-gown and slippers–free, natural, active, perfectly at home, and with all the fountains of fancy, wit, and sentiment in full play.
This guy is apparently the Strunk and White of letter writing. That comes from his book How to Write Letters. I’ve just finished an article about it, and though I don’t think I have quite the interest or patience to read his entire book, the excerpts really brought into focus how different our current paradigm is, and what we might be missing.
Check out the article.
Then go write someone a letter.