The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where It All Began

I suppose I should explain how my passion for letter writing came about. First of all, I was a child and a teenager who survived without email and texting. We didn't have a choice but to write letters to our friends and relatives unless we spoke on the phone (which was a rotary phone by the way). From an early age, my mother had us writing notes and drawing pictures for our grandparents who lived away and we also had to write thank you notes after every birthday party to those who generously gave gifts.

When I was about 9 years old, I connected with my first pen pal; an Australian named Donna. She and I wrote back and forth, sending gum and stickers and even small packets of vegemite. I discovered Donna's mailing address in the back pages of an Archie Comic Digest under "Pen Pals." Soon after, I started writing to Sharon in the UK who was a Girl Guide like me. I also had penpals from Finland, the U.S.A and the Dominican Republic. I am sure there were more because I seemed to be writing letters all of the time as a child. Sharon (the pen pal from England) and I became really good friends through the mail and when we were 17 years old, she flew to Canada and we met in person for the first time. Our photo and story made it into the Cobden Sun newspaper. I travelled through Europe when I was 19 years old and my sister and I stayed with Sharon's family. Many years later, Sharon honeymooned in BC with her new husband. I was living there and so we got to visit each other again. We haven't written many letters over the last few years but we have still managed to keep in touch almost 30 years later.

You see, this is a large part of my motivation for The Letter Writing Revolution. What happens if the next generation never writes a letter? What if they never get to experience the disappointment of checking the mailbox in anticipation for a reply to the letter they sent or the joy that comes when after a period of waiting, the letter finally appears. Mail is so efficient now that you can send a letter and receive one back within a few days. My letter waiting days were long as it could take almost a month for a letter to get to Canada from Brisbane.

After I left home, I went to college and then to Whistler for a two year stint and finally settled in Victoria, BC. I wrote and accumulated a lot of letters during those years. In 1999, I was introduced to the internet and email and well, my letter writing days came to an abrupt halt. I still send out cards of greetings, encouragement, wellness, etc. but I very rarely sit down with my address book and my stationary and handwrite a letter. This revolution has caught the attention of the little girl inside of me who had a passion for paper and pen and words. I feel as though I am unearthing a part of me that has been dormant for a very long time.

I hope that you will all join me on this adventure. I am excited to receive feedback on your letter writing and letter receiving. Stay tuned for some really cool posts........Saturday's post will be all about love letters and there's a reason for that and I have some field trips planned in the coming weeks.

Now get out some paper and write that letter.........someone is waiting patiently to receive it.

1 comment:

  1. I remember those letters from Sharon...her handwriting was so cool! And vegemite. Yuck. I worry less about people not getting letters and more about the lack of "everyday" literature for future generations to explore. Letters written long ago give historians rare glimpses into the common day-to-day lives of ordinary people. Fountain pens, penmanship, addresses,, birth announcements, newspaper clippings...all part of the beautiful history of human communication. And now, to have it potentially revived! Hooray!


I need to know that this revolution is growing and impacting the masses. Your comments motivate me! Please take the time to let me know how TLWR is working for you.