The Lost Art of Letter Writing

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter in your mail box? Do you remember a time when you had to wait weeks instead of seconds to hear from someone? With the advent of email, texting, and instant messaging came the swift decline of what is now affectionately (for me anyway) referred to as “snail mail”. While modern forms of communication and social media undeniably have their perks, there is something about old fashioned mail that is incomparable.

Mailing a letter is the next best thing to showing up at someone’s door. You pick out the stationary or card and pen. You spend time writing out your thoughts and questions, stories and sentiments. You touch the paper with your hands. You seal the envelope. You place it in your mail box, and they retrieve it from theirs. They open the letter you sealed. They touch the same paper. They read the words you wrote by hand. There is an intimacy there that texting can never come close to.

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I picked up this stationary, dip pen, and wax seal kit at a little shop in Florence, Italy

For those of you who have been following along with us for awhile, you might recall that I have a pen-pal, Becca, whom I have been corresponding with for the past 15 years. In fact, the last piece of mail I’ve received was a “Save-the-Date” to her wedding. Becca and I started writing when we were in 5th grade, but didn’t meet until we were 21. I was studying abroad in Scotland at the time, and she came to visit me from her home in New England. Becca and I have both experienced and been through so much since we began writing all those years ago, and she has been such a blessing to me. I never would have had the pleasure of knowing her, had it not been for handwritten letters. (Becca is also an amazingly talented illustrator and you should definitely check out her work here!)

Another thing I love about letters is that they are a legacy. They don’t disappear with the click of a button. They are a written history to be treasured and passed down through generations. I have letters from my great grandparents and grandparents, many of whom have now passed, and I deeply treasure the words they left behind. Seeing the handwriting of someone you can no longer speak to is almost like them being there with you for a moment as you read.

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In the fast-paced world of 2016, NOW is the time to slow down… and start writing letters. To help you get started, I’ve created this Pinterest board with lots of letter writing/snail mail inspiration! I also encourage you to go out and buy some stationary! Letter writing is an art, and writing on beautiful stationary is an easy way to “pretty up” your missives. Some of my favorite places to pick up something special are Rifle Paper Co., Studio Oh!, and locally, Shindig Paperie!

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Some of the stationary I’ve amassed

Do you love letters? Are you passionate about snail mail? Comment below and tell us why! Share memories of your favorite letter-writing/receiving experiences. We can’t wait to connect with you! Maybe you’ll even wind up with your own pen-pal.

As always, live healthy and love hard!

-Shelby

PS: Grab a mug from Sweet Water Decor, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and get writing!!

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0 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Letter Writing

      • Pleats and Keats says:

        No problem! I’m exploring your blog now. It’s gorgeous and I’m excited to read more…I recently wrote a handwritten letter, to an old professor, and I sent it while I was on holiday in South East Asia. There was ink on my hands and love on the page, and I agree with you. It’s a wonderful feeling to physically put your words in an envelope and send it on its way. xo

    • Shelby Briley says:

      Yay! I’m so glad. Maybe by blogging about writing letters we can somehow bring them back into people’s everyday lives!? ☺️ at least it’s a fun topic to post about!

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