These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

the writing on the page

my friend rose e-mailed me friday night and told me she found a letter from the mid-1990s that she'd written to me but failed to mail. she said she'd get it to me some time. and, to be honest, i'd like to read it, bring back some old times and perhaps a few memories of the time.

she was commenting on the fact that those days -- handwritten letters -- are long gone and the callous on her writing hand is gone.

i got to thinking aobut her e-mail and comments afterward. it's something that most of us have transitioned from -- handwritten letters to e-mails. it's a logical transition. why not? we work on computers ow. typewriters are prety much obsolete.

i am guilty of writing e-mails now instead of letters. i'm ot exactly sure if the ransition happened quickly or not. i have plenty of letters from various friends ranging back to the early 1990s and up until before i married dawn. but the vast majority are from the early to mid-1990s. i got my first home computer in 1999 and i guess i started using it to send e-mails to people. it was quickly, after all. i could write a note to someone and get a reply within minutes, if they were at their computer at the time i sent the message. technology, it's great right?

well, yeah, it is. but i think that losing that callous (mine was on the last joint of the middle finger on my right hand), the thought behind each word (can't erase with pen, you know), the personal signature at the end, folding of the envelope and licking of the stamp, is all gone.

i used to love to write letters to friends. granted my handwriting is horrible (dawn says it's goten worse; i think it's from writing notes all the time at meetings an such). still, i found it exhilarating to write a letter. i'd usually write several pages detailing what had happened to me over the past month or so.

e-mails, as great as they are, seem impersonal. you can easily delete as you go or "select all" and erase an entire sentence or graph. and at the end i simply write roel. there's no fancy smancy shitty, eligible shitty signature. i miss signing off.

and sometimes we say we're too busy to communicate. man, e-mail is so quick. all yo uneed ae a few lines every couple of days to keep someone in the loop of your life. and yet, we fail to do it because we're busy or something. i think that when we have something really good and we have access to it, we simply accomodate into our lives and ...ah shit, i'm rambling and it's going nowhere. you get the picture, right?

anyway, to my friends who ever wrote me a letter, thanks. i still have a box full of them. every once in awhile, i run into the box and the letters and take a peek inside a few. talk about a blast from the past, man. i love it.

so hopefully i'll get rose's letter soon. the postal service needs a little business these days.

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