Write them to everyone. To your friends, your family, co-workers, favorite authors, heroes; write letters to places that you love, that resonate throughout your memory, write them to yourself. Write as many letters as you can to your grandmother.
I mean of course real letters, on postcards and stationary, scrawled by hand, dotted with imperfections long abolished by spell and grammar checks. Write and write and write and don’t worry for a moment if this person or that person will respond, or if by offering some lines you’ll unduly pressure the recipient, or if you might violate some unnamed and largely imagined custom that discourages telling of one’s own life.
We aren’t exactly blessed with a surplus of time here on this terraqueous bit of dust, and what time we do have is measured not by our accumulations or accomplishments, but through our relationships to people who, like yourself, are adrift between internalized expectation and individual struggle to make some sense of themselves. We are all we have, we are all we’ve always had, and goddamnit we should celebrate each other at every occasion possible.
Writing letters, the act of addressing to a specific individual a small correspondence with personal and particular details is an act so intimate, so humanizing, that it is nearly impossible to accomplish without expressing some form of optimism, some celebratory remarks regarding the addressee. It is less about establishing a kind of long distance and maintained relationship than it is an exercise of good will, of saying to another human being, “I care, someone cares, you are not alone.”
I do not advocate a foolish and misguided return in full to the days of postage and mailed words. Our electronic world, for all its ambiguous consequences, for all the questionable ‘benefits’ it has bestowed upon our juvenile species, it does indeed possess certain redeeming qualities, not least of which is its capacity for keeping us abreast of each others lives. No, I do not advocate a wholesale abandonment of the comment, text, or rapid fire email. I instead ask, simply, that you write each other letters, that you lend support and comraderie in a tangible and deeply felt medium.
That you write some letters.