The trials and tribulations of a new knitter...

The Opposite Of Junk Mail

It remains a great thrill for me to receive a handwritten envelope in the post whether it contain a card or a letter. In our ever increasingly digital lives, it's become a relatively rare event; but because of that, increasingly special.

Receiving a handwritten letter or card immediately tells me that the sender has invested a degree of time, thought and energy well beyond that of the user of Emails, text messages and or glib comments on social media sites. In my perception any expressed feelings of gratitude, appreciation, support etc., are going to carry more weight with them in the written form.

Certainly, when sending such thoughts and messages the phrase 'there's no school like the old school' rings true for me. This is my opportunity to amplify my feelings, customize them, choose the specific carrier (funny, thoughtful, sincere, appropriate, seasonal etc.) - making the message itself much more unique and impactful.

Here's another thing too - with a physical carrier like an envelope (or packet) you can easily enclose something additional to enhance the message or surprise the person your communicating with. My perennial favourite is to tear out interesting newspaper articles (funny, sad, moving, inspiring) and distribute them amongst friends in a random pattern in cards and letters over the coming months, sometimes years.

Of course, being a 21st century citizen, I do make frequent use of Email, the telephone, text messaging and social media services. Immediacy and ease are often good or essential - 'horses for courses'. But, do you know what? Already (for me anyway) these have turned into utilitarian communications mechanisms - quick, easy, cheap... shallow? Is this just me; one size does not fit all?

I feel like I'm on a crusade to encourage more people to take some time and thought to express things properly, when it really matters. When I want to demonstrate real gratitude, love, empathy, sympathy etc., there's nothing like doing it by dropping someone a note, a letter or a card. It's good karma - and you get to feel good too!

Lastly, and here's the BIG difference between the handwritten communication and 'junk mail'; permanence. Physical reality turns into keeps sake. It remains with us because it is special - it made us laugh, cry, smile, remember. It made a real connection, albeit from afar. Somehow, it makes us human. It offers us the opportunity to express ourselves with more freedom and effect. Hopefully, the message will mean more, and last longer, when its received. Karen Bowden

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