Someone Please Teach Me to Write a Real Letter

In the past few days  I have been cultivating a little garden of obsession.

It all started when the lovely, and ever internets-aware B-mac sent me over to a blog full of letters. As in correspondence…you know…snail mail? It’s called letters of note and the curator Shaun Usher has compiled hundreds of images and transcripts of some of the coolest letters ever. So far I’ve seen letters from Johnny Cash, Ken Keasy, Roald Dahl, and a host of others. I have barely scratched the surface of the collection he has amassed online, but I was hooked from the start. He also runs a site called Letterheady, but it has been experiencing technical difficulties as of late and is offline. Check back there to see some awesome vintage stationery and letterhead.

After scrolling through quite a few visual tasties at letters of note I started wondering what happened to the good old art of handwriting, and when we stopped using the expressive language and vocabulary that people like Jane Austen used in the ever-debated epistolary novels. When did we become a world full of dullards? I stumbled upon a few sites that offered tips on writing letters in the victorian style, or tips on writing letters in general, but none of it was really worth linking here. I even went so far as to order a book on letter writing from Amazon – but I don’t recommend it, and I only ordered it because it was cheap with free shipping on our almost-expired amazon prime account.

Despite my failure to find some sort of guide to writing letters like a victorian, I am still intrigued by the idea that letters offer us a way to tangibly leave behind part of ourselves. I’ve seen tons of blogs that lament the “lost art of letter writing”, and get all kinds of nostalgic for post cards, and decorated envelopes, but I’ve found very little useful advice for actually doing something about the problem. Not only am I still intrigued, I actually started practicing my cursive again. The first day of my self-inflicted penmanship lessons I actually made my right thumb go partially numb for several hours.

In spite of the looming break down of the USPS, I still find a handwritten letter endearing, and there’s something exciting about getting an actual piece of mail. So, if anyone can find me a reference or guide on how to use flowery language a la Jane, please do let me know. In the meantime, enjoy some eye candy, brought to you by Brain Pickings.

Until next time,