Sunday, August 6, 2017

Letter writing, a lost art

As I read the letters of other writers, collections that spanned 30 to 60 years, I find myself deeply mourning the loss of the epistolary exercise. I wrote long letters to a small collection of people, and they wrote long letters back. As I have said, I used to collect them in individual shoeboxes. My mother was a letter writer, Oh God, was she a letter writer. When the Post Office virtually closed its doors and its reach, and everyone turned to email, that whole essential way of communicating disappeared. And it was much more than simply "keeping up" with people, it was a chance to work out one's thoughts selectively, to the very person who would be uniquely interested in that conversation, and would respond by expanding it.
Letters were a genre of writing, an entire essential form that has disappeared. Conversation as I knew it between people, no longer exists, except perhaps in the coffee house, among regulars.
I am thinking of a book.

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