In most of today’s world, the paper letter or card has fallen to the wayside. Paper requires trees. Delivery takes time. Transportation of mail across the nation consumes valuable fuel. Contrast this with the instantaneous delivery of texts and emails, which can be efficiently copied, pasted, and sent anywhere in the blink of an eye, and the advantage of electronic messages quickly becomes apparent. A fast-paced, economical lifestyle has little use for handwritten, pen-on-paper communication.
Of course, there are moments when intent, not time, is the priority. A physical letter or card carries with it a sense of thoughtfulness, consideration, and sincerity. Some of this stems from the extra minutes the writer spends composing the message. You begin with a greeting and a few courteous phrases, and end with a salutation and your name. Proofreading is often involved, and without spellcheck, you actually think about the proper order of letters in a word. Handwritten messages are also highly personal: your handwriting is unique, from the slanted l’s to the curly q’s. The uneven spacing between characters and lines reminds the reader that the message came from a human hand, unlike the sterile, precise typefaces that show up on everything from advertisements to campaign messages to monthly bills.
Fortunately, letter writing does not require one to possess specialized tools or fancy equipment. Below, I’ve catalogued a few of my own commonplace and ordinary, yet well appreciated, letter writing items.