A Woman of Letters

I received a letter from my brother on Saturday. It was really nice – hand written in ink pen on heavy, good quality letter paper and set out as we were taught to at school – address in top right hand corner, date underneath, body of text indented under salutation. I’d forgotten what a joy it is to get a letter, the flutter of pleasure as you turn it over, realising it’s for you and it’s NOT a bill.

It didn’t have much news in it – was babble really, the kind of chit chat we might have had if we were here together, me peeling spuds at the sink, say, my brother cradling a coffee cup and dodging around my small kitchen as I push past him to get a peeler, a saucepan and access to the tap.

But it was lovely all the same and sparked off responses in my head to his chatty comments. I wanted to sit down and answer him immediately, in like manner, but of course, Life got in the way – the weekend specifically – and I didn’t manage to do so until today.

And when I did, I had to make do with lined exercise paper and my ink pen wouldn’t work properly and had to be abandoned. I changed to a free-flowing biro thing and was amazed at how it altered my handwriting. The first part and the remainder could have been written by two entirely different people and I wondered is it just a coincidence that my script looks so much like my sister’s?

I was amazed, too, how the physical act of writing made me think carefully about every word I chose, much more so than when quickly typing, as now, where getting the idea down before I forget it is key and I know I’ll be able to go back and polish it with no consequences. I had surprisingly few cross-outs in my finished letter and was quite proud of what I’d achieved.

Tickled by my own humour, too. Who’d have thought it, eh, that the simple act of communicating could give such a sense of achievement. It goes to show we don’t do enough of it any more, don’t value it enough, and are in danger of losing the art in this instant, face-booky, email-y world we live in.

My brother wrote because, he said, he’s finding the social network site we’ve both joined disappointingly dull; he asked, too, if I’d mind if his daughters wrote to me as they’ve expressed an interest in writing to a ‘someone’.

Do I mind the chance to become their Dear Aged Aunt? Do I mind the chance to chit chat with them using an ink pen and good quality writing paper? Do I mind increasing the number of Real Letters that plop into my post box?

Do I heck! Bring in on, brother!

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