By Matiiapa Chindori-Chininga
Coordinator, Paper Group
In today’s world, it takes just a few seconds to type out an email or text or record a quick video or voice note. But despite all the convenience and availability of modern multimedia modes of communication, nothing beats the pleasure of opening the mailbox and finding, hidden amongst the heap of promotional offers and bills – a personal letter written for, and addressed, especially to yourself. Particularly on Valentine’s Day.
Pen and paper, when put together, have been an incredible vehicle for self-expression for millennia. There is something uniquely pleasurable about allowing one’s thoughts and feelings to flow from the mind and, through one’s hand, on to paper. It is a form of emotional catharsis and can be remarkably therapeutic.
Hand-written letters are becoming an increasingly lost form of expressionism and engender a great deal of sentimentalism that can’t be duplicated by digital technologies. A personal letter indicates that someone thought enough of you to take the time, to sit down, pull out a pen and write to you.
Letters, specifically love letters, have been responsible for keeping relationships alive since antiquity. Hand-written letters are significantly more personal and meaningful than a text or email. They are a tangible and (in principle) permanent expression of your thoughts and feelings that can be a very effective tool to bridge the distance if the one you love is far away. In your script, that your partner can feel, smell and hold in your absence.
In 1527, the infamous King Henry VIII penned – or perhaps a more accurate term would be quilled – a love letter to the woman he hoped would one day be his wife, Anne Boleyn. This arguably most unromantic of men ended this letter with a sentiment that could not have held the same meaning or elicited the same feeling if they had originated on a pixelated screen - “written with the hand of him who wishes he were yours”.
Happy Valentine’s Day!