no one writes letters anymore

my son and i were chatting, as he finished up his christmas thank you notes, about how no one writes letters any more. he mentioned volume one (VOLUME ONE- 700 PAGES!) of the collected letters of hunter s. thompson, and what an insight it gave to his writing process, and parts of his life that you’d never discover if you just read his reporting (letters to his son, etc.)  i have under my desk a small box of letters that i received from back in my college – and post-college days, and it is fascinating, even now, to browse them, to see who i was communicating with, what was going on, etc., stuff i’d never remember were it not written down (which is true in many aspects of my life.)

and i thought, as i did the dishes this morning, how much we all depend on facebook and twitter and blogs and quick emails to keep in touch with each other, which i guess is fine, although no one really goes into detail about their lives in those formats. but what is a shame about those formats is that no one saves them. we’re never going to see “the collected emails of arianna huffington,” or really any other writer or public figure of any importance. and that’s really a loss. maybe these writers do write (and save) letters (hunter thompson used to make carbon copies of all of his letters. of course, as my son pointed out, that was back when you could call down to the front desk of the hotel and have them send up an ibm selectric, a ream of paper, a box of carbon paper, along with a half case of tequila and a dozen limes).

it seems to me i have tried writing letters to friends over the years, but never got much of a response, or else i got an email back. maybe i’ll try it again. some people don’t write by hand any more (i’m one of them) and some people don’t have printers (what need is there for a printer?). i write letters to my father, who is not at all a computer person, which i really enjoy, but no one else. maybe i should start a movement. the “paperless office” never took off, so maybe it’s time to go retro and write letters or postcards (express yourself – send home-made postcards!). you can reach me at 26 castle hill rd., north yarmouth, maine, 04097.

i’ll let you know how it goes.

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Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

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