Years ago, I lived in Australia, long before internet and email. I missed my family and friends back home terribly and while my little ones napped, I’d sit down and write long letters. One of my friends said she kept my letters in her purse and would sometimes read parts of them to her co-workers. I should add, this was before I fully recognized that I was a writer.
I recently received a letter from one of my writer friends. A real honest-to-goodness handwritten letter. It brought me such joy. It made me feel more “connected” to another human being than I’ve ever felt on Twitter or from an email. The letter was newsy and rambling and kind and funny and warm, filling every inch of the notecard it was written on.
Communication is so quick and easy now. Personal events and news are frequently shared, even as they’re occurring. Everyone knows our business. What’s the use of a letter anyway?
Well, that’s my prompt for you for today: Sit down with paper and pen and write someone a letter. No, I’m not asking you to write an epistolary flash fiction (though you can if you’re so moved!). Look around you. These are strange days indeed. What has changed in your community, your neighborhood, your family? Think of the odd details. The other day on my Next Door app, someone had posted: WHYYY IS THE ICE CREAM MAN STILL COMING AROUND???
Share your hopes and fears. Or just something funny or exasperating your kid did. Because this is a writing prompt, I’m going to nag you to employ your writerly skills of observation, include strong, concrete, specific details, and engage the senses. Does it seem like the stars are shining brighter, for example? Is the local wildlife getting bolder?
Pretend social media doesn’t exist today and reach out to one person. And hopefully you have a stamp because I don’t want anyone going to the post office. I’d love to hear if anyone out there actually does this prompt. Let me know.
With love & affection, ❤