Since moving back home from University I have been getting back into writing to friends I do not get to see as often as I would like. Connecting with people I used to see on a daily basis through the written word keeps friendships alive. I also write to Ellen - a friend I made online - and I just love receiving her letters in the post. Her handwriting is so neat and reading her news brightens up my day. Writing back doesn't always happen on the day I receive her letter, but I like to sit down properly and take my time, and when I do, I put so much of myself into what I write that I feel just as excited to post my news to her as when I receive hers.
Unlike sending an email, or a text message, hand writing letters requires you to sit down and spend a bit more time and effort in with a piece of paper and a pen. I feel like I take more pride in what I write - I am more honest and free, and I look forward to the walk to the post box to send my letters off in their separate ways.
I can feel a sore throat and cough coming on so the other day I settled down with a cup of green tea with lemon and spent the next half hour spilling my news out onto paper for Ellen to read in a few days time.
Although I love connecting with friends - old and new - via social media, I enjoy turning off all of that and spending time communicating with them the old fashioned way. I remember meeting people on holidays when I was little and exchanging addresses to become pen pals.
I was nine when my oldest sister left home and we wrote to one another often. When I was eleven my dad lived a four hour drive from the rest of my family for a year and his letters made my week. I still have all these letters in a box in my bedroom. Reading through them now is wonderful. It is like holding pieces of my life in my hands. Is it the physical act of pen to paper that makes it more raw, more real and from the heart?
I have letters under my bed from ex boyfriends and old friends. They all mark a time in my life and when I read them, or remember them, I remember my life back then more clearly than I might with a text message or email. There will always be significance and hope in the written word. When it is in your hand, when you can see it, and feel it, it is real. You have it, it belongs to you, and no one else.
So, I encourage you to take a moment out of your day, or your week and write to an old friend - to someone you haven't properly spoken to in a while. Tell them what's in your heart, revel in the ache in your wrist as the pages of ink pass by your fingers, and pause to wonder what else is lingering inside of you. Hand written letters are love. They are tokens of our lives and connect us to one another, and they are forever.