There’s something about a letter that beats any e-mail or text.
When you read a letter, you don’t just read it. You feel the paper beneath your hands, the ink that ran from the pen and the accidental crumpling. It has personality, character. You can touch the places where the writer touched. The words are expressed like the person, either with swirls or straight lines, small or big, off the lines or perfectly straight. There can be handmade pictures and doodles, little markings and underlines. The paper itself brings out the type of person of the writer, whether it is planined and lined, bright pink, or a soft pale blue. The choice of pen color, the stamp, and even the envelope can tell a lot about the writer.Everything about a letter comes from the writer. [pullquote align=”center”]There’s something about a letter that beats any e-mail or text.[/pullquote]
With a computer screen or a text, you don’t get that same personality. Sure, you can change the text size and color, but anyone can do that. No one has the same handwriting as someone else. And the computer or phone you type on is a duplicate. With paper, there are hundreds of types that you can choose from.
Not only does the personality shine through right beneath the reader’s fingers, but the idea of waiting for something so special and sincere is beautiful. Today, it seems like we’re always checking our phones for e-mails and/or texts. We look for a response not five minutes after we sent a message. We get antsy, send more texts, or type up another e-mail just in case the receiver didn’t get it.
By changing up our usual routine, we learn to be patient. We may look in the mailbox every day, but we don’t send out another letter. You sit and wait. Go through the day and sometimes forget about it. Then after three long weeks, on a rainy, bad day, you open up the mailbox; pilfer through the endless coupons and advertisements, and there, in a perfectly sealed envelope, is the letter.
You can open up a letter after years and years and it will be more delicate and dusty and dirty than ever, but it will still be that letter.
It could be the first letter of a relationship, the last letter of a family member, a letter that says everything that the writer needed to say but couldn’t do it out loud.
Writing helps us, it soothes us, it angers and stresses us out. But reading something written by someone, who did it with care and emotion, changes us. Written words are physical, unlike the words we speak. We can tear them up into pieces or plaster them on our walls or pin them on our bulletin boards.
A quote from one of my favorite films of all times, “Midnight in Paris,” has always stuck with me:
“That’s the problem with writers. (They) are so full of words.”
That may be true. but most of them are written.
Samantha Mineroff is a first-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at SM825021@wcupa.edu.