The allure of handwriting

“We are collectively more than ever obsessed with individual identity, our personal brand, putting our stamp on the world. But we bow to the plain text of the smartphone, bland and unblotted. A WhatsApp message will never have the personality of a sibling’s spider-scribble. Digital communication can never match the intimacy of a handwritten letter. If you want to tell someone I love you, I miss you, I’m sorry, I’m thinking of you, do it by hand, sealed in an envelope. Embarrassed teenagers confessing to a crush now do it by Snapchat. A few seconds and the message vanishes. Blushes are spared, but so much else is lost.”. (Laura Freeman, The Daily Telegraph)

It’s tempting to thank a friend for dinner or for a present by sending an email, but somehow it seems just too easy and it doesn’t have the weight or sincerity of a written letter or note.  But if you are the host or the donor you can sometimes get no thank-you at all, and an email is better than nothing.

Years ago I had four of the drawings I did in Italy printed professionally onto small notelets.  I still use those notelets and hand-write a message to the generous host or the kind present-giver.  It’s old-fashioned, but what is wrong with old-fashioned?  And if I ever run out of those notelets I will continue to write old-fashioned thank-you’s and send them by letter mail, a hint to younger generation – courtesy is kindness.  I like to think that Epicurus would have approved.

P.S: There is now a website, called TouchNote, where you can produce your own thank-you notes, presented as postcards, complete with attractive 4 colour picture of choice, theirs or yours, on the front, and a smart, personal message.  Another innovation to be struggled with, but they look most attractive.  We have received one from Carmen, a kind reader and friend of this blog.  Thank you!

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