The Art of the Written Note

The Art of the Written Note

“The concept of a handwritten note, a wax seal, and the whole nine yards is kind of lost on the public at large these days,” he said as he looked through paper selections trying to find the perfect stationery to represent his personality and taste. I couldn’t agree more. It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote letters on a regular basis. When I was in elementary school it was to my very first pen pal named Shasta- I still remember the school picture she sent me with her very first letter, introducing herself when we were paired up as part of a class project. She had brown pigtails and was missing a few teeth, as we all were at that point. We wrote back and forth for months and there was nothing I looked forward to more than getting those letters on the scratchy school-lined paper, usually with a drawing of sorts to spruce it up a bit. We’d send stickers, drawings, friendship bracelets, pictures of our pets, and letters talking about what we hoped we’d get for Christmas, what our brothers and sisters did that annoyed us, foods we liked, our favorite colors…you name it, we wrote about it.

That habit evolved into the letters I’d write to middle school and high school crushes…somewhere around the time I turned thirteen I remember going on my first trip to Disney World with my friend Beth. We became friends with these two “dreamy” boys from Florida and Texas, and we started writing letter after letter to them after we got home. No one had cell phones yet, and to make a long distance call was still pretty expensive, especially if you talked for hours, so phone calls had to wait for special occasions like birthdays. But the letters would go back and forth every two weeks like clockwork- there was absolutely nothing better than checking the mailbox and seeing the next happy, hand-addressed letter sitting there waiting to be read.

When I was in college I wrote to my grandpa. He loved to write and he continued to write to me up until his handwriting got shakier- and even then he would get out the old typewriter instead. I kept him up to date on what I was learning in school, who my friends were, and shared the aspects of college life that grandparents would approve of. But regardless of what was said, the mere act of writing made a difference to me and I hope it did to him. There’s something about getting a letter from someone that is a genuine compliment- it lets us know someone made time for us, which is perhaps the most valuable thing we can do for the people in our lives who matter to us.

So I’d like to say a sincere thank you to the guy who walked into the shop today after picking up his ballroom dancing shoes across the way, and asked where he could find some good letter-writing paper. I only know a handful of people who still write, but it’s not a lost art- we just don’t make time for it. Who can you make time for today?

*The {letterpress, handwritten, accompanied by a wooden business card and a wax seal} card featured in this post was sent by the owner of an incredible company in Texas called Manready Mercantile.