The Art of Letter Writing
When was the last time you wrote a handwritten letter to someone? In the age of quick text messaging, instant emails and continuous communication, letter writing is beginning to feel like a lost art. Take paper (maybe made locally by Crane & Co.) and pen, and set time aside to write a letter to a friend, family member, or neighbor. Particularly when the weather is ferocious outside and a Nor’easter is upon us, seize the opportunity to sit down with pen, paper, and the backdrop of falling snow to compose a multi-page letter. Unlike computer keyboards, there is no backspace key or delete function. It’s the chance to move slowly, choosing words carefully and with care; to meditate on what you want to want to communicate. Letter writing connects people and lets the recipient hold onto the letter as a keepsake. The art of letter writing can preserve a fond memory or anecdote. It can be a record of friendship.
Take your interest in letter writing and explore Epistolary Novels, a genre of literature focused on letter writing. These books or novels tell their stories through letters the characters write to each other or sometimes even through diary entries. Some well-known epistolary novels to check out at your local Western MA library include:
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
- Lady Susan by Jane Austen
- Letters of Two Brides by Honore de Balzac
- Poor Folk by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
[Photo credit: (cc) Ryan Blanding]
Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.