Saturday, August 18, 2007

In Praise of Simple Things

I got a package in the mail today that really got me thinking about how much life changes. As technology speeds up our lives, sometimes it is the little and simple things that anchor us and give us the permission to stop and breathe. For me, one of those things is a simple fountain pen.

I love fountain pens. The feel of the pen in my hand and the very slight sound the nib makes as it slides across the paper gives me the time to slow down and focus, really focus on what is happening. So today, as I opened up the package that contained the fountain pens I ordered from Ebay, I found myself contemplating the seemingly lost art of writing a letter. It also seemed funny that through the technology of the Internet, I received something that is regarded as old fashioned by others.

There is something about receiving a letter written in the sender's handwriting that makes me stop and relish the very page I hold in my hand. I love receiving a letter in the mail. Written in print or script, the pages spill forth the thoughts of my friends and for a brief moment, we aren't separated by miles.

A large portion of my friends do not write letters. They tend to think of it as outdated and old fashion given that they can shoot off a blurb of text through email. We lead such fast paced lives, sitting down to compose a letter seems as old fashioned as hitching up a horse for the commute to work. So, when I do get a letter from a friend, it allows me to take time out from my busy schedule, sit down and really think about that person for the time it takes to read the letter.
Writing letters is a passion of mine since it gives me time to compose my thoughts, almost like journaling. As I write, I think about the person I am writing and direct my flow on the paper to that person. As my husband will attest, often these letters get started and never sent. But for the time that I am writing them, they are almost like therapy.

When I was in school, handwriting was a class students took for many years, not just the one or two the school systems do now. We learned to write in manuscript and cursive, along with a couple seasons of fancy script. Although we did not go fully force into Spencer script, with all it's fanciness and flourishes, we did learn to add little flourishes to our letter to give them a graceful charm...and we learned how to write all kinds of letters. I loved that portion of my education and have used it ever since!

Tonight, take out a pen and a piece of paper and write a letter to a loved one. Take the time to think about them while your pen slides across the page. It is a gift of time for both the sender and the receiver.

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