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May 09, 2011


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Maureen O. Betita

I used to write letters. Lots of letters. My mom recently gave me a stack of the letters I had written. Some of these letters are more the 20 years old.

I'm interested in reading them, eventually. ;-)

I still write long and rambling e-mails, much as I used to write long and rambling letters. The difference? If I tried to handwrite a long and rambling letter my penmenship has gone to the dogs...

How Sr. Christina would cringe.

That's one major difference between letter and e-mails...it's much easier to read text...

Donna Cummings

Maureen, you're right about it being easier to read the text in an email!

I remember writing long letters to friends when I first got my computer -- it was so much easier to type those letters and then print them out.

I kinda miss doing that, although I do the same thing with emails -- I just don't print them out. Plus there's not as much waiting involved. :)


Plus, the bad thing is, paper burns up in fires. You can back up computer files in ways that wouldn't "get got" if something that awful happened!

Maureen O. Betita

I'm a total e-mail hoarder and never delete anything... I have the evidence to back up every e-mail I send and was sent to me...

Bwah ha ha!

Donna Cummings

Colby, excellent point! I try to use a few different methods of backup, so that I backup my backups, just in case. :)

Donna Cummings

Maureen, I guess it's my legal background, but I like to have email as "evidence" too. It's also the basis of my memoirs. LOL I can just go back in and see what happened WHEN it happened!

Sabrina Shields

I've never been a letter writer, but I do love to write little notes in notecards and send those often. A little known fact about me is that I LOVE notecards and collect them. I have tons of sets in my office and always try to pick up anu cute ones I can find.

When I was going through my mom's things I found a few letters she had kept over the years and one in particular raised so many questions for me that I'm seriously contemplating researching it.

It is from a man friend my mom had in high school who is writing to her from being station somewhere in the military. In it, (while he's not trying to hit on her and get her to date him) he talks about a man my mother had been with and "that horrible thing that happened" and how much he knows she must be hurting.

Basically, it came across like my mother had been in love with a man she was about to marry who died. I've never heard a word about this part of her history.

It makes me realize what a treasure trove old letters can be - even with things we wouldn't tell our families out loud, but that we can share "in secret" on paper.

That is one thing letters have that emails don't - a feeling of intimacy and the idea of a secret shared.

Donna Cummings

Sabrina, that story made me a little misty! I want to know what happened too. I'm sorry for the loss of your mom -- I've gone through that too, and it makes the things that belonged to them even more precious.

I think you are so right about the intimacy of a letter, and that is really what we're losing with our transition to email, isn't it? An email can be typed out in relatively no time, and it can be sent to many people at once, decreasing its individuality as well as its sense of being special.

I don't regret very many things, BUT once when I was moving from an apartment, I threw away letters I'd written to my mom when I was in college, ones that she had saved and given back to me. I was embarrassed to read them, and tossed them, and now I wish I had been more mature about that decision!

Kari Marie

I love the IDEA of writing things down longhand. My hands don't. I wonder if they had carpal tunnel back then? Would writers pay other people to come in and take dictation when their hands hurt?

There are some things that lend themselves well to being handwritten - like Sabrina mentioned. But maybe that's only because writing these days takes TIME. We never seem to have enough time. So when someone slows down to hand write you a thank you card or address an envelope rather than slapping a label on it? It means something more. Personally, I get a handwritten note, and I pause before ripping open the envelope. See who it's from and with a smirk, I'll open carefully. Why? Because to me, it means someone else cares.

Donna Cummings

Kari Marie, excellent point about the carpal tunnel. I imagine the more well-to-do writers would have had someone take dictation for them. I like to write longhand, since it stirs my brain up differently, so I take my pens and notepads to Starbucks. (That also makes me leave my laptop--and internet connection--at home!) But it is hard on the wrist and arm after a while.

I smiled at the thought of you pausing before ripping open the envelope. :) That's the way it should be, since someone has taken a great deal of time to send something handwritten. It's such a treat, isn't it?

Clarissa Southwick

As someone who has always been self-conscious about her penmanship, I'm very grateful for email. I don't think I could write a novel if I knew the editor wasn't going to be able to read my handwriting.

Donna Cummings

Clarissa, I used to have lovely penmanship, but too many years of taking notes for school pretty much took away the prettiness. I think it's still legible--well, *I* can still read it. LOL And I love being able to keep up with my thoughts by typing on my laptop. I don't think I could give that up!


I still love receiving letters in an envelope, for years i been used to this..these days every thing has gone binary..click on send and you receive..anyways old is gold!@bose

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