Letters are a tactile written communication traversing centuries and continents, bringing other people, places and times to life with immediacy and personality. Here we celebrate this ancient form of exchange. Send me a handwritten postcard, will you?

Letters burned (I)

Letters burned (I)

It always saddens me to learn of letters burned or destroyed; including those we will never see because Jane Austen's sister destroyed them after Jane's death.  Here Edmund de Waal tells us of what may have been an epistolic treasure trove burned by his...

Most reprehensible

Most reprehensible

This charming exchange is from a favourite children's book, discovered and devoured when already a so-called grown up.I liked the child owning up in guilt to a shameful act, and the adult's sneaky response.  Let it be said that Ambrose is a dream uncle who educates...

Postcards from the future

Postcards from the future

Enjoy this charming project which invited children aged 5-12 to design and write postcards from the future, addressed to parents, or a friend, or simply to '2022'.  The gallery of drawings this generated have some common themes, along with the personal messages. I...

Write and gripe

Write and gripe

I like letter writers who gripe about the responses (or lack of) from correspondents.  Pliny is the arch whinger when he doesn't think his friends have written him fast, frequent or long enough letters. But I liked Bernstein's keeping tally - a 7-pager deserves at...

What is a letter?  A tactile written communication that bridges distance and lasts forever.

The spirit of the letter

Luiz found this beautiful book at our favourite flea market in Geneva. I liked the cover image and title, which echoes the English idea of keeping to ‘the spirit of...

A bundle of letters

It is now so rare to receive a letter (not talking about bills or other officialese, but real letters) that it's hard to imagine receiving more than could be read...

The innovation of envelopes

They’re so ubiquitous that it’s a surprise to learn envelopes were a mid-nineteenth century invention.  Somewhere in Gaskell I remember a character protesting at this new-fangled costly creation. Previously people...

Write and gripe

I like letter writers who gripe about the responses (or lack of) from correspondents.  Pliny is the arch whinger when he doesn't think his friends have written him fast, frequent...

Pebble pusher

Keats, known as a poet, was also one of history’s great letter writers.  He loved life and seized it even as it slipped away from him, embracing moments of joy centuries...

Letters burned (I)

It always saddens me to learn of letters burned or destroyed; including those we will never see because Jane Austen's sister destroyed them after Jane's death.  Here Edmund de Waal...

Letters unopened

We use the term ‘back of the envelope’ to capture the notion of jotting down an idea or plan on the spur of the moment. The film director Roberto Rossellini...

Another long letter

Those were the days when conversations at a distance had to be committed to paper, and I like Bronte's preparation for writing a long letter on the grounds that the...

Close to your heart

I've heard of people keeping letters, including under their pillow, but never one permanently about your person.  This letter from the poet and priest George Herbert was so well written...

In my pocket, in my heart

From time to time I receive a long and handwritten letter from one of my brothers and I am long overdue in responding to him.  I think this comment from...

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