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E.T. phone home

16 March 2008 21:50

I've just finished reading "Don't You Have Time to Think", a collection of letters written to and from Richard P. Feynman. A birthday present from my wishlist.

Previously I've read the collection of letters to/from Tolkien. (Several times actually. Very nice collection!)

It suddenly struck me that over my lifetime I've probably written <200 letters to people.

When I was young I had a couple of pen pals, and when I was entering university I was involved with a couple of play by mail games which involved writing random letters involving strategy & etc.

Personal letters though? I've written very few, and I think they've mostly consisted of letters to my partner/partners of the time.

(For example Megan went home for a few months at the end of a university year about two months after I initially met her. So there were many letters back and forth. Recently she spent two months working in the USA; counting eggs and avoiding alligators so again there was a flurry of written letters, maybe 20 total during the duration of her trip.)

I guess that most of my (hand)written messages to people have been in the form of postcards whilst on holiday.

A long time ago I offered to mail postcards to Debian developers. I know I sent at least two, and I received at least one back - but the thing I remember most was exchanging addresses with Amayita and getting into character set issues. Her emails, containing her Spanish address, were difficult to understand as my mutt/console refused to display the foreign character set properly.

I can't recall whether she did ultimately receive a card from me, but I'm sure she'll remind me if she did.

Anyway I have no resolution, intention, or expectation that I will suddenly start writing more physical mails to people. But I think it almost counts as something we do less of these days. The telephone and internet have become the norm.

In some ways this is fantastic. In others it less good.

On the left my handwriting is so bad that maybe this isn't necessarily a problem.

ObQuote: E.T.



Comments on this entry

icon Runa at 17:32 on 16 March 2008
People should write more, send more letters. Letters with smileyfaces and nice words.
icon Steve at 17:44 on 16 March 2008

I agree. I just know that without significant motivation I will not change myself.

Mail me your address (ASCII only!) and I'll send you one!

icon Steve in Canada at 22:39 on 16 March 2008
You should get a fountain pen. They are a joy to write with, and it might inspire you to write more. Then again fountain pens may not be a novelty on your side of the pond like they are on my side of the pond.
icon Steve at 22:43 on 16 March 2008

As a left-hander writing with a fountain pen is extremely difficult, so I'll pass on your suggestion!

I had a horrible time at school until I received permission to use a biro pen. Because if you're a left handed writer the edge of your hand slides over the still-wet ink; smudging it horribly.

It is possible to avoid the problem by cramping your hand sideways, so that it no long slides over the wet ink, but that is painful and awkward to maintain..

icon I'd Rather Not Say at 08:08 on 18 March 2008
Making writing fun is key. I second the fountain pen- though in your case you might look into fast drying ink/blotters. I'd recommend investigating www.fountainpennetwork.com to see if there is any advice there on penmanship, pens and inks.
What I enjoy most about writing letters in the great freedom it gives me. I can draw, sketch, doodle, diagram anywhere on the page. Try that with (plain text) e-mail.
Also thank you notes are much better when handwritten.