Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age
I am presently engrossed in reading The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh, by Charlotte Mosley (published in 1997). Their delightful correspondence affirms an enduring friendship between two of the twentieth century’s most amusing and gifted writers who sparred and duelled with each other on paper.
The book has me regretting just how much the art of letter writing is a thing of the past. How many of you still correspond? By this, I do not mean the instantaneous electronic messages electronic via Twitter, SMS or Facebook. I am referring to the exchange of lengthy, personal accounts of interesting everyday events between family or friends.
As a boy growing up, I well remember the chore of having to write letters of gratitude for presents received, and my mother being most adamant my brother and I did so. But it was while as a young man away from family and friends, and curious – at times desperate- for news from the home front that I began to enjoy writing and receiving letters. Over a period, and regardless of where I would find myself, Sunday morning became my set time for sitting down and putting pen to paper.
My first typewriter, a Remington portable made for easier, faster and longer letters to be sent, although considered bad manners – and maybe still is by some – to use a mechanical contraption for personal messages. By the mid-eighties the electronic world was evolving faster than ever before, so I too modernized, discarding the loyal Remington for an electric typewriter. However, my letters remained at substantial length and were still being sent by normal, stamped mail.
The rot set in with the Fax machine. Faxing cost money so my letters became shortened versions of the reams I was accustomed to writing. My first computer followed and this appliance, combined shortly afterwards, with the Internet, speeded up the mail delivery. Paragraphs became less important, sentences shorter and adjectives dwindled.
If that was not bad enough, Facebook reared its ugly head, limiting correspondence between friends and colleagues to little more than one sentence. Add to this the abomination s of SMS and Twitter, where sentences are cannibalized into a concoction of single words, numerals and symbols and I find myself asking why even bother to write anymore? Having gotten that off my chest, should any reader of the old Remington school of letter writing (not handwritten as my script is no longer legible) feel like entering into a normal, intelligent and hopefully humorous correspondence with this writer, please do so initially by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BRT IO Welcome 16.12.2012
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