Monday, August 8, 2016

Write a Letter

How often do you receive a letter in the mailbox? A green envelope sits inside addressed in ink to you from someone sharing thoughts and feelings. Maybe a greeting card springs from the box?

With cell phones for texts and email so handy, we have lost the art of letter writing. Many college students today do not even know what a fountain pen can do. Some cannot write in cursive.

I love to share my life in letters to family and friends. My affinity for correspondence began when my father pushed me to write thank you notes for birthday and holiday gifts. How does one write about a tea cup and saucer with "gratitude"? Whatever use is a demitasse set to a nine year old anyway?

I didn't play with dolls or invite them to tea. I did find a use for the cup. Its design of green vines and trumpet flowers looked better filled with earth and a seedling. Did I dare explain in a letter to a Great Aunt how an antique adapted?  Yes.

My father understood and encouraged my sharing of thoughts and feelings after the initial line of thanks. "Write what's outside the window," he'd say. "Go sit under the magnolia tree. What are the birds doing? What sounds and scents do you observe?" He always pushed for the sensory details. He asked me to name everything. "It's not just a bird. It's a red-tailed hawk or mourning dove, he'd say.

Off I'd go with pen and pad and a grumble or two. Soon my pen flowed in turquoise or emerald across the page with ideas and stories.

What's outside your window to follow? Craft a thank you letter for an undesired gift you received as a child.

Or, write your thoughts and feelings from the present moment to a friend.

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