When I was younger, I decided not to fall into the trap so many older people live in, with several dates a month marked for the purpose of going to the doctor. However, you know what Robert Burns said, “The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglay.” Last week I visited three doctors with a member of the family in two days and this week, for various reasons I will have been in waiting rooms every day except Monday and Wednesday (twice on Thursday).
I get tired of passive things like reading, listening to audio stories, watching TV. (I never do that anyway), but I don’t knit or crochet, so I’m coming up with a new plan. I will take a small packet of paper; pens, maybe watercolor crayons and either write notes or draw a bit.
Emails are a big thing now, but writing notes and letters on paper has been part of my life since I was a child and I still get the urge to do it when I’m waiting. Mother and I wrote to each other every week. I still have all her letters and she kept mine up to her last days. When I was twelve and moved away, my best friend and I wrote each other every day. Recently, we wrote our schooldays memoirs together, but that was by computer. Out of habit, I hurry to the mailbox every day expecting something, but usually it contains only commercial mail, so I take that in, sort it out, and throw most of it away.
On my last run to the SPCA store, I got a thin book that reminds me of Alexander Stoddard’s beautiful, Gift of a Letter. It’s called, The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication
, this one by Margaret Shepherd.
Realizing how happy it made me to read another book about the subject, I realized I missed writing and receiving handwritten notes more than I knew and decided there was no reason not to take it up again.
Ms. Shepherd says, “Writing by hand makes you look good on paper and feel good inside. Even an ordinary handwritten note is better than the best email, and a good handwritten note on the right occasion is a work of art.”
One thing I’ve always loved about notes is that you can save them and re-read them. I know you can do that with emails, and I do have a file, but for some reason, once they’re out of sight, I never take the time to look at them.
“Art Has Always Survived Technology,” says Margaret Shepherd. I agree. It takes about a minute to write a note, so I’ve put a small pad of paper in my purse and some cards in the door pocket of my car. Last Tuesday I wrote a note to my son, (who, because he lives in another town, always sends a handwritten note on birthdays and mother’s days) and one to our pastor’s wife who did my family a big favor. She is also a card-sender and note writer, so it was a pleasure.
Don’t get me wrong I like to get emails, and I enjoy writing them. It isn’t one or the other, for me, but both. It’s something I’ve missed for many years. Are you missing it too?