Timelessness of Letters

The number of letters mailed has been declining each year as we move to electronic means of communication (U.S. Statistics). I find handwritten letters to be much more personal. But when we do have time to write a letter, get an envelope, and buy postage? And by the time the recipient has received the letter, things have changed. If we write letters that are not about the daily ongoings, but that are about giving advice or explaining something, then we can have letters that are timeless.

It is certainly convenient and fast to send an email, but an email can be diverted to junk mail and ignored or deleted with a click. We live in a physical world and the physical letter will leave a tangible impression on us in a way that an email does not.

C. S. Lewis wrote responses by hand to letters he received from fans. In one of them, he offers practical points about writing. This is a timeless letter in that, although it was addressed to a specific reader at a specific time, its advice holds true even today. The value of the letter is as a means of exchange, the recognition of another person’s thoughts and participating in a dialogue.

How many emails do you receive in a day? And how many of those do you respond to? Often emails today are more about giving information than an interest in communication between two individuals.

It takes time to write a letter. Time that we often say we don’t have. Writing a letter can be a way to slow down and make time for the things that we value.

The letter featured in the image is another handwritten letter by C. S. Lewis to Janet.

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