It’s really no secret that I like to write. In the course of writing, I’ve learned to draft and draft and draft until you get to a final product that you like. If you had a look at my admin account, you would see the absurd number of posts that I never end up making public because they’re not fully-formed ideas, or just ideas that are half-cocked. That’s the luxury in this day and age with electronics, you get to edit and draft millions of times, and no one is really the wiser.
All of that goes out the window when you go back to pen and paper.
I guess my preoccupation with letters came from a really formative period in my life. I was all of thirteen, and I was dating my first girlfriend. We used to write each other, she lived in upstate New York, and I lived in New Jersey. I guess I should clarify, she used to write me, and I would feel compelled to reply. She was the same age as me, but she was way more mature than me. We had email, we had IM (I’m not THAT old), but she said that there was something special about a love letter. And she was right then, and she’s right now, there’s something incredible about a letter. To this day, I have them saved. You can remember a lot of things, you can take a screenshot of whatever you want, but there’s nothing that can compare to holding a memory right in front of you, something tangible, something real.
When I have something I really need to get out, when I really need to create, I go to my stack of yellow legal pads (a habit picked up from my sister) and the first writing utensil I can find. It’s a gift to be able to trace your thoughts, to see every strikethrough, every edit, every idiotic idea that appears on that page. You get it all out and you see how you got to the end of it. That’s the same thing with a letter, I only write letters in pen, because I think you owe it to whomever you’re sending the letter to some honestly. They’ll see the mistakes, they’ll see what you meant to say, and that’s all the better for it.
At this point, whatever is on the legal pad goes straight into the garbage, or on the chalkboard so I can make a note of it later. For the first time in a long time though, I sent a letter, you know, using a stamp and everything. It was a little terrifying, but also incredibly liberating. After writing countless letters to no one, it felt right to finally have a letter get to where it was meant to be, in front of the eyes of someone else.
I guess that’s my appeal you know? I’m armed with nothing but nostalgia, pen, paper, and a forever stamp. Of course, this also means I’m at the mercy of the United States Postal Service, so you know, pros and cons—