The Lost Art of Letters

I have just opened a letter. From a person who is very dear. From a person not so far. A timeless expression. A lost art.

I’m standing here on the Beijing subway, 17.45. It’s rush hour in the most populous city in the world. 99% of the carriage is filled. Rubbing shoulders. Sharing space.

Reflections are bright with the underground sun. The blue light reflecting from screen to soul, illuminate the faces of my fellow passengers in this mutual journey we share.

Just moments ago, I rushed onto this train. A letter was given to me, by hand, in a passing few seconds before we separated again. I’m running late for a class on the other side of the city, but there’s nothing I can do now. But wait.

The letter is still poised in my hand, wrapped around my metro card. Addressed with my name. A little brown envelope inviting my attention. I sense excitement and curiosity growing in my body the longer I stand here, gripping the train sway.

I open it.

What is said in that letter is everything. The words that we have been trying to communicate for weeks, if not months. The words that endless conversation, by mouth and by instant text have failed us.

The feeling I have in my heart is of joy. Because in my hands I hold a piece of truth. And I was holding it the whole time, running around the station, looking for an answer.

The beauty I am describing here is of anticipation. We live in a society where we can get any thing, any time, any where at the click of a button. Look at me right now, typing this on the train.

But that letter, was a reminder.

A reminder. To. slow. down.

Our times have advanced to a state where we can communicate at any given time of the day. In the heat of a moment or the midst of a reaction, that designated person will know almost instantaneously the thoughts which arise. Whether you intended them for the person or not. They’re already on their way, in cyber space to reach the eyes of the recipient.

What they see however is not the true message you wanted to convey, with the energy you needed it to be conveyed with.

It is interpretation. The one which one comes with ego, emotion and reaction.

On the other hand, a letter takes careful thought and preparation, if you mess it up, you can curl it into a ball and make a hit for the trash can. If it bounces off, it doesn’t matter, no one saw.

A text message. Once it’s read, which it almost always it is. There’s no taking it back. It’s open to be casted with the eyes of experience. Without the context of your full thought. It’s the cause of many arguments, break ups and heart breaks. Of this, I’m sure. Of this, I know.

So my invitation to you, is to find that thing you’ve been meaning to say, to that person. The truest, deepest conversation that you have been needing with them.

Hold a pen in your hands. Open the notepad. And write. Don’t look back, don’t rerread, don’t think about anything. Not even the words that you are writing.

Let it flow.

Unfiltered by the mind.

If you choose to send it. Is up to you. But just do it. Grab those words buried in the subconscious and send that truth onto paper.

If you do, choose to send it that is. You will make that person’s day. Whatever the message is. Good or bad. Because for that moment, your conversation was not fast nor furious.

It meant something.

And taking the time to do it, means that person means something too. That enough, is to ignite the soul and set the heart alight.

That alone, speaks the unspoken.

I invite you. Reader, friend, lover.To poise your pen and speak your truth.

For the lost art of the letter.

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