martedì 15 giugno 2010

You can't reread a phone call

Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.
Lord Byron

And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
W.H. Auden

What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call.
Liz Carpenter

I consider it a good rule for letter-writing to leave unmentioned what the recipient already knows, and instead tell him something new.
Sigmund Freud

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Politeness is as much concerned in answering letters within a reasonable time, as it is in returning a bow, immediately.
Lord Chesterfield

In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people's lives.
Anatole Broyard

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If you love LONG letters and you'd like to become a long-letters-writer, you could start by reading Joana's advices. The first part, and the second.
You can join the discussion in comments, or even here.

What's interesting, is the sort of "war" that seems to exist between long and short letters writers. I don't really like that. We don't have to fight. We all just have different ideas, tastes, requests. Penpalling is great because there isn't just a way to see it, but many. The thing is, the amount of people who can write a long letter is becoming smaller and smaller. Why?
Maybe our life pushes us to write less? We use cellphones, Facebook (well, I don't), Twitter, and everything around us is fast, we have to be fast too and use language in this rush. Not anymore to express our feelings, to open our minds... but just to update our status, to say where we are right now, to a world that doesn't really care.
Why, all around the world, young people seem to forget how to write in their mothertongue? Do we really need to be always so quick? What is the purpose of language, of writing, of penpalling?
Oh, no, I'm not against modernity... I love it. But I think that being smart means... to be able to keep the good from the past, and to use the better from the present. Don't you think?

Why, nowadays, everytime I say I keep a journal, they look at me like I was an alien? Is that so crazy? To indulge a bit, day by day, wondering about what I've done, what I lived... Yes, for sure we don't have a lot of free time now, and we have Internet, TV, and stuff. But I love Internet and still... I keep a journal.

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8 commenti:

  1. How come there are no comments yet?? I think you are absolutely right about this ~ the question is not who likes to write how much and who will be happy about it... The thing is, there are indeed not many people who can write 10 or 20 pages in a letter... I never want to pressure anyone and count the words, but it's interesting that many people don't even get the idea that they could write much more than they actually do... What is 'enough' for whom? Are the pages you write 'enough' for telling your updates, for pouring your heart out, for having an ongoing conversation, for just putting them into an envelope, for showing your new stickers and stamps? I hardly ever feel I've said 'enough' with some people, only that I sometime just have to stop because I can't just keep the letter like a journal and go on writing for ever... This is when letter writing is the most enchanting for me... With others I have to make up my mind, to get some ideas about what to write and sometimes I also think ~ I wrote 'enough' to return what I received... This is the 'balance' I'm always talking about, but somehow it bothers me lately more and more how people get weary of each other, the balance is lost and then you eventually stop writing... I'm asking myself why it is so difficult to keep the fascination about people and to keep on making efforts... It seems that the modern communication methods keep people from staying in touch for real indeed! The relationships get more and more superficial and becomes an illusion, a number in your friends list... I've made the experience that people stopped writing letters as soon as they added me on facebook... People who took the time to have a long chat before suddenly were satisfied with sharing a link! I think it's not fair if you agreed on writing letters and then all you receive is an unpersonal status update! It seems that people care more about quantity than quality and all those new kinds of media push them into it... How frustrating is the welcoming facebook message 'you have no friends'? It leads you to starting a search for someone to add... Now they even go as far as saying 'your friend X has only 3 friends, suggest someone for him'... What the hell is that? I don't want to say we should throw our computers out of the window, but we should think first and then consume... And if we start a friendship through letters, we should think about our goals and wishes, about what we are willing to put into the whole thing... I don't see the point in superficial relationships, this is why I try to show more of myself ~ which doesn't mean the more pages I write, the better the other person knows me, I don't only consist of words, you know... But if I feel a connection with someone, I want to communicate... Letter writing is not a drug (not in the common sense ^^), not something that will bring you in a dangerous situation, so why restrict yourself? We shouldn't be afraid to reason and reflect and to present the result to someone, to give details... Why should we break everything in portions like twitter messages instead of showing the beginning, the development and the end? Puchihige =^.^=

  2. Fact - People keep thinking that long letter writers are obsessed with number of pages... they barely can each to the thoughts that if we do write a lot and do not rush our ideas it's pretty normal that the number of pages get high!

    It really upset me, not in the mad way :), but it's upsetting to repeat the same thing time after time and still come someone and ask exactly the same AGAIN. Plus it's we try to make something nice to enjoy reading, such as the tips I am writing, and people come to contest it like if I were writing the Penpalling bible...

    I think this issues should continue to be debated, because we have all a common hobby (penpalling).

    There isn't any fight, any war! Each person has one interest. I like long and massive letter, someone in the other side of the world loves short letters, what's the big deal? I talk about long letters because I love them not because I want to erase short letter writers from Earth... I think any kind of way to write letters it's pretty, at least if the person feels well with them. To me a short letter doesn't work, I expect more, I'm an avid writer and reader.

    Plus, I don't get. Most of us have requests, we use them to look the kind of pen pal that suit us better, we aren't offending anyone, we are clear.

    You know my actual fear? To scare people. Sometimes I reach a point and I don't know if I write more or stop, because I don't know if I'll be neglected, if the person will be afraid that I write too much... I feel testing, this because of the difference of the "long letter" concept, everyone has one, we never know what is a long letter to the other person. Plus I am afraid that with time letter become uninteresting and shorter...

    D. refer Facebook, to me it worked well. I first created to invite my pals, since not all are in Interpals, but almost all were in Facebook, and I thought it could be better to send small messages or easy updates. The problem is that some people looks to forget that the others aren't made of plastic, we have feelings, isn't because we don't see "in flesh" every day that we are kind of toys, some people neglect the others, have strange behaviors when all of this is about people... I can say that I have proudly a few people added in my Facebook account, I know all of them and I talk with most of them, I think it is the correct thing. But well, this is another issue :)

    Some people never talk about their childhood, about past things that happened very long ago. I ask why? Isn't supposed to be creating a friendship? Friends normally know about our lives, and we were people before we met that friend. Some people make of penpalling something empty, vain, blank, it consists in the grocery list and the walk that someone made that day. Penpalling can be so much more fun... I'd never change letter writing for e-mails in my life!

    Love to both *

  3. Hey hun - my apologies - your letter did arrive the other day and I'm working on a response and package :)


  4. @ D. :
    Yes, you've got my point about Facebook and social networks in general. Well, it's not like I want to see them die. I just use them sometimes, some of them, and it's nice to do that. It's nice to write something on Twitter when I remember its existence, or to post some pictures on Flickr, or even to use this blog... and, let's say that, this kind of things could be, sometimes, a way to find friends.
    The problem is... what cames next. If you just push the button "add to friends", or if you actually built a relationship. The "virtual friendship" can be silly if there isn't a true "contact", but just some short sentences, not personal but written to all friends, sometimes. That is what I dislike about Facebook (that, and the privacy violation. But that's another story XD). I could make an account and start to add hundreds of people, because even if I have less than ten TRUE friends, I could add just everyone I know... and what then? That is nonsense.
    ...Anyway, I don't want to "demonize" it. Like everything, it can be used in a nice way or not.
    About long or short letters, I would love to hear more about what's the point of short-letters-writers, what's the thing they like about penpalling... their voice. I would love to hear that, not as a fight, just a friendly discussion. Because, yes, it's ok if one likes to receive nice envelopes, or short letters to not be bored with details, or to be able to reply in a short time... it's ok, of course, because we all have our taster and our needs. But, since now, I've never heard a real discussion about this. Just querelle. Will we (all) be able to discuss and to understand each other's point? :) I hope so!

    @ J. : You know, dear, I think you don't have to be scared at all. If someone doesn't like your style, your massive letters... well, he's not a good penpaller for you! So it's better to let them run away, eh eh! Don't you think?
    Yes, it's very interesting that people think we are obsessed with numbers, ah ah! Like it was a contest, what will I win if I'll send you a 100A4 letter?? XD Well, that's not it.
    On the other said, like I wrote before, I'm curious to understand better what short writers search in penpalling. It could be a very interesting discussion... but I'm still searching one without this strange pregiudice, eh eh!
    And... yes, I write letters like I was talking to a friend, so it's natural to write about everything, like you were drinking a cup of tea with that person, telling him/her about your life... Penpalling is about sharing our minds, after all. Sharing our thoughs, our ideas...

  5. Hey girl,

    I don't understand why some people have problems with people who love long letters. I mean no one needs to write with another one. So why be angry or so when someone wants to write long letters and not short ones? I can't get it.

    I am writing to you at the moment. Just wanted to let you know. It took some time until I finally started with your letter, but you will read in the letter why and such stuff :)! I hope you don't mind. It will take some time until it is ready, I will let you know when I send it.


  6. I do get a little upset with short letters, but honestly I don't mind the length as long as the content of the letter is something... well, worth reading.

    Take your letters for example, I LOOOOVE your letters. You've only written to me a couple times because we've only recently started pen-palling, but they genuinely seem from the heart.

    I sometimes catch myself writing for the sake of making it seem like I'm writing a lot, but then I try not to and I try talking about something I really want to talk about (in hopes my pen pal will find it interesting in their eyes, haha).

    Anyway, what I guess I mean to say is that what matters most to me about letters is the actual content of the letter and what was said. Does that make sense? :P Haha, ah well..

    I sent out a letter to you earlier today! I hope it gets to you soon! ♥

    - Belen

  7. I adore the quotes above, they ring so true to me! :)

    I am disappointed at the penpalling world these days :( Some people get in touch (through Interpals or Penpal Net) telling you they are long letters writers and when the first letter reaches me... it is three A5 pages with a long list of hobbies but no real conversation between two human beings, no interaction and no questions about the other person at all, as if they actually forgot someone else will be the recipient of the missive.

    And no offense intended but this has happened a lot to me in the past with American stay at home mums. You feel many of them write letters just to 'kill time' until their husbands get home in the evenings from work and some go as far as to tell you right away, sort of 'Hi I am Stacy. I love penpalling because I am a stay at home mum and bored most of the time when my kids are attending school' .
    Where in that intro paragraph says you wish to get to know me and exchange letters that could develop into a real sincere friendship to last for years? Nowhere.

    I also totally agree with the point made (in a great way) above by two people on Facebook. It is creating a huge maze of artificial relationships and people seem to eagerly 'collect' others in their Friends List like if it was some kind of competition 'Look at me I have 194 friends, wo-hoo!' when in fact those are not real friends, just some individuals bored enough to sit in front of a computer all day and write silly status updates that say nothing about whom they are and how they feel.

    Another thing that shocked me recently, girls!
    A very recent pal of mine told me that she reads the letters, writes down on a notebook the 'main stuff' (she called it that way) and then... throws away the letters!

    Am I weird in thinking that is truly awful? Just to think that all the effort & affection put into a letter ends up at the bottom of a bin... It would never cross my mind to do that and I do not feel good knowing my letters are discarded and some small entry on a notebook says 'Yurena.32 years old, from the Canary Islands. Bookworm, Atheist. Loves eating sushi and music' or something along those lines as if I was a monkey in a behavioural experiment or a subject for study in the Dharma Initiative :)
    It all sounds to me very robotic and human factor there.

    On a more positive note :) I recently started penpalling with a girl from Zambia and another from Japan. Their introduction letters were shortish but I did have the feeling there is potential there for a real friendship to develop and in fact one of them just sent me her second letter and it is lovely. Very long and telling me about her favourite books, a bit about her childhood and expressing an interest in my life and thoughts. A genuine conversation among friends.

    We are an endangered species the long letter writers, aren't we? ;) There is something truly special about receiving in your mailbox a letter where you feel the other person poured her/his heart and soul into it.

    Despite loving all things technology, nothing compares to a handwritten letter received from a friend in my humble opinion!

    Only seven comments on this matter? come on, people, it is fascinating. Share your thoughts! and thanks Sara for opening debate on it :)

  8. Thank you for your interesting comment!

    I've got a lot of super-short letters from stay at home mums too! So now I think I have a little prejudice about that, even if I'm always open to surprises. It's like, nowadays, penpalling is just an hobby. I think it's strange to see it as a hobby like decoupage. It's an exchange, not just a way to kill time...

    The girl who throws away the letters but writes the sum of them made me laugh. XD We are all so crazy in the end, eh eh! I have a notebook where I use to write dates (when I send/receive something, from who, and with what), birthdays and a list of what I've already sent to each of my pals, just to "organize" my penpalling... but to throw away all the letters is crazy!! I love to read all of them again, and to save them in my precious boxes!!

    Yes, potential. I often see it too, even when letters aren't sooooooo long. What makes me think, is... maybe a lot of potential long-letters-writers doesn't know yet what they can do? I guess this is it, in some cases. I started writing a lot when my first penpal did that to me, so maybe we all need an ispiration!

    I think technology is great to fast communication, that is very useful. But, an handrwitten and infinite letter... is really another world. :)

    - - -

    @ Belen:
    Thank you, dear. :) I'm glad you like my letters!
    I understand what you say about the actual content of the letter. That's the most important thing for sure. What surprises me, is that a lot of people say it doesn't matter if the letter is made of one or 100 sheets. Well, it does, in the end... because the actual content of 100 sheets can't be the same of one! So, more sheets, more content. That's how I see it. :D


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