So after a bit of a gap, zoeprose and I have decided to get back into the swing of #sendsomehappy – our collaboration praising, discussing and cherishing the art of writing letters. Of sending a smile through the post. Being old fashioned because we love it and think it’s important to keep this wonderful tradition alive. Join us by using the hashtag. (Can I just say here how impressed I continually am with Zoe, who has three wonderful children (is younger than me!) and always finds the time to craft, write, collaborate on blog posts (!) and generally be a good force in the world! Make sure to have a look at her beautiful website and shop of handmade lovely things.)
I think that half the time, or more than half, I get more pleasure and satisfaction from writing a letter than receiving one. Maybe that has something to do with the anxious person in my heart worrying about what is going to be in a letter that is unexpected, or you always hope that a bill or something boring or official you don’t recognise you hope is an exciting letter, but no.
If I am annoyed or upset about something big, let’s say a break up, and it’s many pains and confusions, and I want to share the burden a bit, a letter is a great way to do that. In a selfish way it allows you to say everything you want without interruptions, it lets you see how you really feel, spill your thoughts on the page and organise them.
I had to message a couple of good friends and apologise in advance for the huge rambling letter that was winging it’s way towards them via Royal Mail. Of course, you shouldn’t apologise for how you feel. That’s just me worrying, it wouldn’t be like me. Hem hem. It’s definitely cathartic and you get rid of negative feelings and worries to some extent by writing them down, by confessing. It’s quite psychological.
True, your friend may get to the eye rolling stage after she/he has PTO’d five times and squinted through the salty splashes but in the end isn’t it another connection, a deepening of friendship and a rope cast out in the hope that someone catches it? Your friend will be glad you chose them, that they understand how you feel a little better and you will move on together because of it.
In a smaller way, writing a letter, and sealing, stamping and sending is a small intact achievement. You have a sense of having completed a task. It feels good to walk to the postbox and drop it in. A creative writing tutor/ well known novelist Carlo Gébler taught a Script Writing module that I completed badly in my final year of university. He made us post our work to him, because in his view, something saved on your computer or sent as an email attachment is never finished. It can be constantly edited. Only something physical, printed and sealed in an envelope is ‘done’ and you can do nothing but stand by it. Both my good friend A and me LOVED him for this advice. It will always stick with me.
Anyway, my point is: writing letters in good for your mental health especially if you’ve been through a rough patch recently. My challenge to you is to pick up your pen and carve out fifteen minutes or so to write a note to a friend. Who knows what hurts may get healed in the process.