An avid infatuation with Lily James has lead me to a heavy contemplation on the lost art of letter-writing.
Her innate charisma and bombshell locks in Mamma Mia 2 had me drooling all over the floor of the cinema — so naturally I stalked her IMDB and proceeded to binge-watch every film in which she’s ever graced the screen.
I began with the 2015 live-action Cinderella, followed by The Exception (drool level: bulldog), and finally found myself enveloped in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
The following day I discovered that the final of the three was based off of a novel by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, so before I hopped on a plane to Italy I picked up a copy to occupy my eight hours of very free time with something other than filing a restraining order against myself for Ms. James.
Aside from being a beautifully written, inspired story about the gift of reading, the novel is an ode to letter-writing as the most honest form of communication I dare say the world has ever known. Since closing its final cover, I have revelled in thoughts about the practice, and what the world has lost since the beginning of its gradual demise.
A few things in particular struck me as marvelous:
You cannot be interrupted...
There exists nothing and no one between your pen and your paper (unless you want to get scientifically technical about it). Unlike face-to-face conversations or phone calls, the opportunity for Suzie to cut you off mid-sentence with a completely unrelated point to the one you were trying to make is non-existent.
In no way am I knocking phone calls or speaking to people in-person, but it’s nice to imagine a medium in which you can express all it is you have to say about your work promotion to Suzie without her somehow making it about her new haircut, isn’t it?
...It doesn’t interrupt other experiences...
We’ve all been out for dinner and drinks with that one friend who is much more concerned with letting cyberspace know they’re having a good time than actually having one.
This is an internal battle I’ve fought for quite some time: wanting to be completely present in each and every moment of my life, but wanting also to capture them for the mems (sorry that’s cringy, but so is this sub-topic). Letter-writing is such an incredible solution, for it allows you to capture the amazing moments of your life without interrupting them as they happen! Hurrah!
...Your thoughts are full-formed...
Technology makes us impatient. I may write a blog completely on this topic, that’s how much it fires me up, but for the sake of this one I only wish to emphasize that we rarely allow ourselves the time to make our thoughts whole before they come tumbling out of our mouths or thumbs. If we did, we might have missed the window for them to be heard, or even be relevant.
I think most of us can empathise with the aggravation that is walking away from a discussion tormented by all of the things we wished we had said, but couldn’t think of in the heat of the moment. Perhaps we are much too impatient nowadays to read anything of more than 140 characters, but if we could permit ourselves the time to collect our thoughts and ideas before spewing them out to one another, we might at least have a shorter list of regrets.
Emphasis on complementary. A heart react has absolutely nothing on "Sincerely Yours, ..." or “All My Love, …”. I swear, if we all proclaimed our care for one another this profoundly at the end of each text, the world would be snuffed of hate.
I’m not actually quite this naive, but one can dream.
...It forces you to reflect on your day...
To quite the same effect as journaling, writing someone a letter affords you the opportunity to reflect on the days of your life, not just through snapchats, but through your thoughts, experiences, and learnings.
Journaling perhaps is simply letter writing to oneself, and I think this process is completely invaluable. The way I believe we grow and discover ourselves is by reflecting on how we felt when we encountered different parts of the world, and the people in it. Without documenting this, it’s easy to forget, to be disingenuine with ourselves later, and get caught in bad habits.
No, Chip doesn’t deserve another chance, yes this is the third time he’s cheated on you, and yes you’ve felt completely awful about yourself the whole time he’s been in your life, it’s right here in INK Suzie, stop kidding yourself.
Basically I just really wish that people would start writing me letters, and that stamps weren’t so goddamn expensive.
P.S. I’m sorry if your name is Suzie, I don’t actually have anything against you it’s just funnier when examples are specific.
P.P.S. Go watch some Lily James, I recommend them all.