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?

Up hill and down dale

Up hill and down dale

Gavin Maxwell chose to live in a remote house on a remote island in Scotland. Here he describes the extraordinary efforts made by the local postman to deliver a telegram, from a heroic sense of duty. Nowadays he would be called a 'key worker'. It reminds me of a long...

My kind of letter

My kind of letter

Love receiving 'real' letters, and so was thrilled to find this beautiful envelope in the letter box, apparently made from an old map. I've come across map-made envelopes before, but they put the map on the inside so the outside was white and you only saw the contour...

For love of a letter

For love of a letter

A letter carried, quite literally, close to the heart, despite the torment its presence provokes. Vasily Grossman's mother died in a ghetto, and having failed to get her out of it while he could, he lived with the sorrow and guilt of her loss. His Life and Fate was...

Mail at last

Mail at last

We forget, swamped as we are with constant connectivity, the past hunger for letters and news when travelling.  I remember a few years in China and Taiwan, before the advent of email, when we would rush from class to our pigeon holes or letter boxes in the hope there...

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

Keats on hand-writing

Keats' letters are treasures - he is every bit as fine a correspondent as he is a poet.  Here he chides a friend for visually attractive but sprawlingly illegible hand-writing.

...

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...

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...

A packet of air mail envelopes

You may not have noticed, but air mail envelopes and the corresponding lightweight letter paper are dying out.  I am by now resigned to the decline, and am simply stocking...

Letters unwritten

When a friend mentioned the special paper she’d bought to write me a letter, which she hadn’t yet done, I started thinking about unwritten letters, the ones we plan or...

Waiting for the post

Dorothy Wordsworth's journals were written in the closing years of the 18th century and the opening years of the 19th, when the postal system had not evolved to last-mile delivery. ...

Letters tolerably long

Gaskell has many Jane Austen touches in cheerily summing up lightweight characters. But inconsequent as the letter and the writer might be, letters themselves were a lifeline of news and...

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...

The scrutiny that precedes reading

Yes, there is that small ceremony that precedes the reading of a letter, particularly a hand-written one delivered by post.  You look at the envelope, the stamps, the hand-writing (familiar...

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...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Love writingredux.com?  Enjoy our sister sites:

www.foolsareeverywhere.com    I    www.nuannaarpoq.com

 

© Beatrice Otto 2020 - design & content unless otherwise stated - all rights reserved

 

Pin It on Pinterest