Friday, January 16, 2015

National Send a Handwritten Letter Day (?)

January 17th — and every 17th this year — is (supposedly) National Send a Handwritten Letter Day. Having written three letters in the last six days, I will probably take the day off.

Coming just six days before National Handwriting Day, NSHLD seems oddly placed. Does it have an official sponsor? Is that sponsor trying to steal NHD’s thunder? If thunder thunders and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

In 2015 there’s something decidedly artificial about keeping in touch by letter. I don’t mind: I like writing and receiving letters. One of the great friendships of my life — with my pal Aldo Carrasco — got started in letters.

Related reading
All OCA letter posts (Pinboard)

[National Send a Handwritten Letter Day is such an ungainly name. How about Handwritten Letter Day?)

comments: 9

The Crow said...

Sound waves travel whether there is a creature with ears to hear them or not.

Having said that, it is only by a creature's ability to detect those waves of vibrating energy (and one of those to create a word that defines the effect of that energy) that it becomes sound. Energy rolls on.

(Well, that's what I think, anyway.)

Berit said...

This is the second time I've gone a-wandering (a-voyering?) through posts from you on Aldo—what a joy they are! I think he was very much my sort of person. I also think he'd have loathed apple iOS's auto-correct.

In my youth, I was a great writer of letters; but to whom does one send such a missive now-a-days?

Michael Leddy said...

I can imagine what Aldo might have said about autocorrect. He once misspelled a word when he inscribed a book for Elaine and me, and he called attention (in his inscription) to his misspelling and connected it (again in his inscription) to Eliot’s choice not to remove the bad poetry from Four Quartets. (I’m laughing out loud remembering this.)

To whom? I know what you mean — that’s why it feels artificial. The funniest part is writing an e-mail acknowledging receipt of a letter, a habit I’ve pretty much broken.

Frex said...

Hm. Clunky name, for sure...

How 'bout National Write a Letter Day? ["write" implies handwritten, right?]

Or, National Mail a Letter Day? [surely you wouldn't mail a letter if you hadn't written it?]

National 'Put a Stamp on It' Day
[you know, like 'put a bird on it']

Michael Leddy said...

Or National Letter-Writing Day? (I don’t see why the letter can’t be typed, but then again, it’s not my event.)

Oh, and Martha, I agree with you. I was thinking partly about the relative obscurity of the supposedly National day.

The Crow said...

I know...I was being too literal in my response.

Fresca said...

Googling around, I see Dec. 7 is National Letter Writing Day, so that good name is already taken:

Here's a related idea I also stumbled upon that I just might take up: February as the Month of Letters: mail something--anything!--on every day that the PO delivers.
The founder agrees with you--it needn't be handwritten. Actually, it needn't even be written. From FAQ:

"Q: Does it have to be handwritten?

"A: Not at all. You can send a leaf in a typed envelope, if you wanted."

Michael Leddy said...

I had no idea there was a Month of Letters. For 2015 that’d be twenty-four bits of mail. Hmm.

The amazing thing is that people, at least some people, used to crank out letters every day. So many accounts of writers’ days have them answering letters for an hour or two in the afternoon.

Slywy said...

I love writing letters. Even though they are most nonsense.

Governesses, who made a pittance and had to pay for certain amenities out of it, set aside money for paper, ink, pen and postage so they could have some contact with whatever loved ones they had left. Something about that is more moving than email.

I just finished John Steinbeck's unfinished (can you finish an unfinished book?) Acts of King Arthur, which include an extensive series of letters from Steinbeck to his literary agent and editor (what's missing are their responses). He talks about his efforts to get Cross pens sent to him in the UK and how, as he has given up, they arrive. And you can tell the physical act of writing was important to him — it sounds like his work area was just so. A typist typed his scribblings.