Please Mr Postman
Do you like to get the old fashioned, luddite version of mail?
Fossil-fuel burning. Ink and paper. Lick and stick.
I confess to ardent worship of the antiquated practice of letter writing. It’s one reason I send handwritten postcards to numerous children on every trip. Why I mailed over 100 letters in advance of the release of my novel. Why the proprietress of the local stationery shop turns cartwheels every time I darken the door.
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about letter writing for another reason.
I’m sick of being online.
I’m tired of superficial likes, of empty commentary, of scrolling through life without any real tie to anyone or anything. Even though I have over 20,000 online connections, I am less present than I have ever been in the lives of people I care about.
Over the weekend, I put an out-of-office reply on my e-mail. I deleted every message, unread, that wasn’t an emergency, and I classified work-related items to be dealt with on Monday. I updated social media twice.
I didn’t sell any books.
But I read four.
And I wrote five letters.
Inspired by a card from Debra Fetterly at Breathlighter, I responded to her in kind, with a multi-paragraph, scrawled missive of my own. I read her note several times before filing it in a special place, where I keep every handwritten note/message/card any reader has ever penned to me.
Writing Debra’s note inspired others. I trooped to the mailbox three times to mail them all.
The result of my technological rebellion?
I’m poorer. My novel is tanking in sales.
But I’m richer, too.
My brain is cleaner.
I can read for long stretches without checking a screen.
When I come back to read your words, I go slower. Take my time. Really comprehend what you took time to construct.
I am not a machine.
I cannot be programmed.
I resent the cold, calculated expectation that I turn myself into a machine for purposes of staying connected.
You really want to make my month?
Write me a letter. Send me a card. They’re pieces of you that matter to me, Dear Reader.