Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Creative Art of Letter Writing

Being without the internet or phone, and even my vehicle for so long, has resulted in some deeper reflection  upon my co-dependent mind set, around the online experience and social interactions.

I've had enough time now to re-adjust,  re-format and re-route my hapless braincells.  I've been contemplating, thinking about instant communication versus slow communication, and spent several months daily writing in my journal, more so then usual, without the ready accessibility of posting on my blog and daily online usage.

Instead, I  wrote several letters to friends, and generally applied myself to painting  everyday, on a regular basis, for many continuous hours, over the last three months.

In retrospect it been a very positive experience, and I learned a valuable lesson I intend to put to good use. Without my internet for this duration, I understand  on a deeper level the importance of habitual writing long hand in my journal before starting my day. I believe it depletes and wards off my co-dependence of the online world that seems to feel all consuming at times.

Numerous letters written and sent, resulted in the feeling I was actively building and taking care of my friendships through the process of letter writing ; as opposed to instantly signing into Facebook  to view the ridiculous, the most recent and never ending tedious timelines. I appreciate knowing what most of my "friends" are up to, others, well sometimes, you know TMI!

 I certainly appreciate all that the internet has to offer, but I am glad I understand the benefits of slow communication and greatly appreciate writing and receiving hand written letters. I love the papers, the pens, the inks, the envelopes and even  the stamps. It truly is a creative act, as Catherine Field states in her article, The Fading Art of Letter Writing written in the New York Times. She very eloquently and accurately described this creative act.

"A good handwritten letter is a creative act, and not just because it is a visual and tactile pleasure. It is a deliberate act of exposure, a form of vulnerability, because handwriting opens a window on the soul in a way that cyber communication can never do. You savor their arrival and later take care to place them in a box for safe keeping."

I have a close, long time friend, that lives an hour away. We have written each other regularly  for years, in spite of living an hour apart and being able to see one another without difficulty. We have agreed to do this for one another, and it gives us both great pleasure, a valued sense of appreciation and gratitude for our friendship. I have another close artist friend from University, and we have been regularly, corresponding. She told me in her last letter, writing has been a "glorious therapeutic mental element", which I do understand from my own personal writing experience over the years. It makes me happy to know this and to have that kind of appreciation for the simple gesture of a hand written letter.

And so, I have resolved to do my journal writing, first thing before I get online, in order to foster and focus on my creative and healthy pursuits for each day.

I will never be a Luddite, but I can make a steadfast resolve to maintain a balance between technological instant gratification of this fast moving world, and that of the little by slowly, found in the ancient art of writing.

I might not be fast but I'm slow!


Anonymous said...

Hi Catherine
Well said! I find this post very inspirational:)

Unknown said...

Hi there Brandi! You the same Brandi from Uni?
Thanks so much for visiting and for your inspiring comment!!! It's very nice to know you appreciate my post! :)

Indigene Theresa said...

It's a great idea! There's something about pen/pencil to paper, that nothing else can be substituted...or maybe it's just my age, but it's not something I'll ever stop doing. I think you might be surprised by all the clarity it will give you in abundance! :)

Unknown said...

Yes Indigene there is no substitute for writing letters and I don't think it will ever fade. In fact I see a resurgence in especially younger people, appreciating what it has to offer. Clarity, is certainly the word that describes what writing gives. I've seen this time and time again over my 30 years of journaling.
Julie Cameron in her book, "The Artist Way" taught me this vital lesson which I am eternally grateful for having learned!
Thank you as always for your comments and support Indigene. You are an inspiration!