D’Annunzio: Handwritten letters come straight from the heart

Lisa D'Annunzio

Recently, I’ve realized that the average person has about six high-tech modes of communication attached to his or her name. Most of us have home, work and cell phones, a fax number, an e-mail address and an Instant Messenger screen name. Yet despite all these communication gadgets, it amazes me that we are a society forever struggling to get in touch. I am frustrated with technological communication and have come to really appreciate the handwritten letter.

Take a moment to think of when the last time a letter found its way into your grasp. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? You’re not alone. It is a rarity to open the mailbox to find an envelope that doesn’t contain some sort of bill, return address labels or catalog, but instead encloses a personal letter. In an era of urgently sent e-mails and e-cards, complete with animation and musical accompaniment, it doesn’t surprise me that the handwritten letter is not popularly utilized.

Letters do take time to compose and transport, but they are worth the extra effort and 37-cent stamp. They do not instantly flow into in-boxes or onto cell phone screens mere seconds after creation, but our patience for these tangible messages is a small price to pay for such a personal, memorable touch.

Recently, I discovered a message that a friend tucked inside my notebook after class one day. The element of surprise made me smile, but it was the kind, handwritten words that truly brightened my day. Situated among my to-do lists and random sketches, this message was personal and creative.

By setting aside technological modes of communication in which servers go down, reception areas are infrequent and away messages remain for days at a time, my friend wrote to me, tucked the message inside my notebook and made a lasting impression.