Thursday, 26 February 2015

Writing letters...

This week in the mail, I received this wonderful book AND my membership to the Letter Writers Alliance (button on the sidebar takes you to their website). Yes, that really is a sew-on badge taped on the card - reminds me of the Girl Guides :-)

As my left-handed writing improves, I'm keen to return to a favourite pastime - writing letters! 

I've had pen-pals since childhood (I wrote to a French girl called Genevieve for several years), and in college I wrote to prisoners through a church scheme. During my year in Kenya (1987-88), receiving mail was the highlight of everyone's week, students and teachers alike.

In our increasingly virtual world, I believe REAL mail has a vital part to play... to really connect people, in a way instant messaging just can't. 

As I wrote in my journal recently, I played for hours as a child running a Post Office (do you remember those sets with the little alphabet stamps??), then at being a secretary writing very important memos on my trusty Petite typewriter.

(mine was very similar to this)

But nothing can beat a handwritten letter or card, especially if it's come from overseas with its interesting stamp... 

Of course, Virginia was a fine Woman of Letters, but even she scrawled notes and dashed-off missives. Do you ever wonder how biographers in the future will do their work as our generation leaves so little hard evidence behind? A friend is writing a book on her grandparents based on letters found in an attic - will that be only a romantic notion in the future?

I ponder these things as I journal, read Virginia's diary entries and her letters...

And should you want to exchange cards/letters, do get in touch via the Contact Form in the sidebar. Together we can create small treasures for those who come after us to discover and wonder about our lives...


  1. Hi Claire, good to see your computer problems are solved. Handwriting letters is becoming rare, at my kids school most of the writing is done with computers, no pen, no paper, this generation and the future ones will never write a letter, only email, texts..., it's the price of all the new technology. Hugs to you!

  2. I purchased a 1943 Optima Elite typewriter, and it has inspired me to write letters, poetry, and all sorts! I just love the feel of the keys under my fingers, and the way I have to plonk them down one at a time. Makes for very thoughtful writing. I made sure not to buy any corrective tape, since I think the strikeouts and re-types make the result look so very vintage.

    1. I like the 'mistakes' too, Marcheline, much more interesting!!

  3. Claire, I just came back and looked at your entire blog, and I am intrigued by both the blog and your story. When I read that you'd had a stroke, I assumed you must be an older lady - but then I saw that you are just about the same age as I am.

    Oddly enough, I have also taught myself to write with my left hand, though not out of dire necessity, as have you. My mission was to fill some odd hours in which I had no computer access with something I found challenging. So I started by teaching myself to write with my left hand. Then to do it in script. Then backwards, in script. I can write backwards in any style with my right hand already, but I can tell you that learning to do it with my left hand was probably the hardest thing ever - it's sort of like a double negative for the other side of the brain! Once I got it down, it stuck - I can now do it at will. After that, I started memorizing speeches from "Hamlet" - and then writing them out, backwards, with my left hand.

    I'm not saying this to brag... I'm telling you that if you start slowly, but keep challenging yourself, you will end up being able to write and do things with your left hand as if you've always been left handed. Another interesting point is seeing that my handwriting is similar from right to left hand - somehow I thought my left hand would have a different style. It's good exercise for the brain, as well as eye-hand coordination. Keep up the good work!

    1. Yes, I'm always trying to build new pathways in my brain... I've recently started to try writing with a fountain pen (a dip-ink one) - it's certainly a challenge, and VERY messy!!

    2. Methinks we are birds of a feather. I currently have on standby a new bottle of ink, an antique inkwell, and twelve conditioned turkey feathers waiting to be cut into quills. You are motivating me to actually cut them and start writing! (Here's my post about them:


Please feel free to join in with your thoughts and insights. Yes, I'm writing this for my own pleasure, but it's always fun to share with others :)