Columns Opinion

Whatever happened to letter writing?

We live in an interesting time. Those of us that were born before the year 2000 have seen it all. We’ve seen the internet age grow and technology so vastly improve that sometimes it seems unreal. The younger generation born after 2000 has grown up with smartphones and the internet at their fingertips. They know nothing about the lost art of letter writing. Texting is no match for a well written note or letter from a friend. Growing up I was a pretty good pen pal. The funny thing is, most of my notes are from my friends that I would see every day. However, when we finally did get the internet, ours was dial-up so it was probably quicker to write a letter, fold it into a cute little square and wait to hand it to my friend the next day. It makes me a little sad to realize that no-one writes letters anymore. Not even really emails. From experience, I know the benefits of both receiving and giving letters.

First of all, it improves your writing skills. Not only does it improve your actual handwriting and printing, but it helps with your grammar and punctuation. I attribute all my years of letter writing to my excellent spelling and being able to use they’re, their and there in proper forms.

Writing letters makes you feel good. Knowing that someone took the time out of their day to put some sentences together to write a personal note to you and vice versa is the ultimate compliment. It makes you feel special, and when you’re writing them you make sure you put together something worth reading.

You could add personal touches. As much as I do enjoy being able to text my friends and family now, writing letters has the upper hand on keeping it personal. Yes, there are emojis and gifs you can send for a laugh, but there really is nothing like receiving a handwritten letter with pictures and illustrations to go along with the words. Plus, those notes could be folded into origami shapes or little squares of joy.

Lastly, they are memorable. I distinctly remember sitting down to write those letters for my friends and making sure they were fun to read and colourful. (I’m a big fan of the four-colour clickable pen). I also remember the feeling of getting those letters in return and reading through the trivial but meaningful information. I still have most of the letters from my high school letter-writing career. I had at least three friends I exchanged letters with, so that’s quite a few notes.

Probably the only good thing about the apparent disappearance of letter writing is that in the classroom I don’t have to worry about notes being passed around.