Monday, July 28, 2014
The Written Response
The Written Response
by Fran McNabb
I was going through an armoire the other day and ran across the box of letters I saved when my future husband was in Germany with the Air Force and I was still finishing my senior year in college. I took the letters out and savored the feel and the smell of them, then I sat down and revisited the words he wrote over forty-four years ago.
The written word has lost its dominance today and is being replaced rapidly by digital. Here I am this morning writing this blog on a computer and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I can’t help but think how sad it is that the written word is fading.
Digital is a much quicker type of writing, sometimes even requiring less thought and certainly less energy. Because I rely on my keyboard so much, I have lost the nice handwriting I once had. I’ve read that schools are steering away from teaching cursive. What a shame. I’ve always admired those people who have the ability to write beautiful cursive. I look back at history to the beautifully handwritten documents that our forefathers penned. No more do we have such papers. Everything is done on the computer.
There’s a lot to be said about the digital age we live in. Fast, convenient, neat—all of these qualities are positive, but let’s take a moment to look at the positives of the handwritten word.
First, letters and written cards contain a little bit of the writer. He or she must locate the paper or card to be sent and a pen to use. The writer must then sit and carefully write the message because there isn’t a delete button. After rereading to make sure no mistakes have been made, he must locate an envelope, the correct address, and a stamp. He then walks to the mailbox or drives to the post office. I know we’re not talking about a day’s work, but still, there is an effort that must be made on the part of the sender that isn’t required with digital messages.
These written communications are tangible and can be held and saved and read as often as the receiver wants for as long as the pieces are kept. I still get a little zing of excitement when I find a card or a personal letter in my mailbox.
Most of us have a love affair with digital communications. No way could some of us survive if our computers permanently crashed tomorrow—and that includes me. Computers have become a necessary part of our lives, emails have become our choice of communication, and social media has connected the world. I’m not saying that any of this is wrong. Our world has probably changed for the better because of computers and the internet, but I hope we don’t completely lose the value of written communications.
When was the last time you sat down and wrote to someone? I have a few friends and relatives who still take the time to write to me. I love them for that and I hope you too still have someone who’ll send you something personally written soon.