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The New York Times recently ran an article titled “We Could All Use a Little Snail Mail Right Now.” Naturally, I jumped on it! I have more than once said with chagrin that the greeting card business–my business–is dying. Self-fulfilling prophecy or a depressing realization?

According to the NY Times article, the average household receives only 10 pieces of personal mail per year. Aiyiyi!! If true, that is even worse than I thought.

My stash of card and letter writing supplies

But according to the article, choosing a card, picking out a stamp, and writing by hand is not only good for the person who receives the card, but can be good for you, too. It just feels good to do something nice for another person. Sending a card is one of those small, feel-good tasks. As Hallmark says, “It’s the biggest little thing you can do!” It shows the receiver that you’ve spent a little extra time and effort for them.

And writing by hand is beneficial, as well. Julia Cameron, in her wonderful book, The Artist’s Way, is adamant about the benefits of writing by hand. She suggests that we write at least three pages by hand every morning, a practice otherwise known as her Morning Pages. She claims that writing by hand does much more for us, internally, than does writing on a keyboard.

In another article, The Times cites research that finds that children who learn early to write by hand may learn better, retain what they read, and might even be more creative. “Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.”

Funnily enough, a friend just texted me about taking a walk today and I replied that I wanted to finish writing this letter first. She suggested, facetiously I’m sure, that I have AI write up a first draft for me. There’s yet another fly in the ointment, perhaps a subject for another day. Do we really need a tool that takes us even further from our own authenticity, our words, our thoughts, our interiority? I don’t think so. It’s a little heartbreaking for me to have one customer after another ask, “Does it say something inside? I never know what to say.” I always reply, “They are blank inside, ready for your loving words.”

Having said all of this, I will admit that I don’t send cards quite as often as I plan to. So there. But you know, one can always do better.

“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“. . . the beauty and nobility, the august mission and destiny, of human handwriting.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion

“Handwriting is the garden of the sciences.” ― Abu Dulaf

“Writing longhand opens up and exercises parts of the brain that keyboarding doesn’t. It does get more uncomfortable as we age; then again, it wasn’t all that comfortable when we were learning it – remember? Handwriting is a lovely thing, though, with practice.” – Julia Cameron

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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