An archaic form of communication, it’s charming nonetheless. Somehow, opening a Snapchat never quite measures up to the pleasant surprise of receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. Torn at the corner, slightly muddied, and stamped multiple times over with details of its journey, this flimsy envelope and its precious contents went through so much more to find itself in your mailbox. No puppy ears filters, no instantaneous reply.
A letter is free of time, free of anxiety. You send it off and wait. And if you’re lucky, a reply will find its way to you in a month or so. Freed from the worries of the modern age – why hasn’t he opened the snapchat I sent? Why didn’t she reply? She saw my message an hour ago – is she angry at me or just forgot to send one back?
With a letter, there are no accusations or fears. Almost as a diary entry, I scribble down my thoughts for as long as they come, wipe off the ring of moisture from my coffee cup, fold it up, and stuff it into an envelope. Collecting my thoughts for a month or so allows for a long and winding tale of life as it happened, which is often more interesting than watching it live on social media. The intense and personal bits are reserved for this much more intimate form of communication.
No back-and-forth messages to work out a good time to Skype, since time differences and busy schedules alike may mean this happens all too late. Instead, a promise to keep up this common thread of conversation, even if months separate replies.
In an excessively connected world, sometimes the old ways are the best.