Month: August 2014

The Art of the Hand Written Letter

Call me sentimental, but I love to get a hand written letter.  When I receive the gift of a hand written letter, I feel like the letter writer is right in the room with me.  I can sense how they are feeling in the phrasing of their sentences. There is something visceral to a hand written letter.  The personality of the writer shows in the construction of the letters. Writing a letter the original way does take longer than just zipping it out on my Mac. Letter writing is not for the swift but for the sojourner.  Because of the physical act of writing, I may consider things I might otherwise not have if I was just sending an email.  When I place pen to paper it slows down my thought processes.  Free floating thoughts bubble up to the surface which I really enjoy.  So, if you’re in a hurry, a computer is great, BUT, I don’t want to be in a hurry when I write a letter. 

The magic of the hand written letter is it’s ability to jog  deep memories.  I ask you, how many emails do you remember?  Probably just a few.  Because we get so many emails, we tend to take them for granted.  We as a whole are starting to communicate in sound bytes.  I do remember the letters I receive and some I carry with me.  I actually remember a letter I received from my best friend when I was eight years old.  I was moving away and she was very upset about this.  For years I took that letter out and read it hoping to see her again.  This letter jogged my memory of our childhood friendship and early experiences that shaped us.  I am now fifty-four and still haven’t forgotten that letter or our friendship.

The ability of a person to remember is helped along with the written word.  As the words unfold in a letter, memories unwind like a ball of string with many twists and turns along the way.  Isn’t that what it is to be human?  Computers tend to be linear and logical and humans  tend to be unpredictable and tactile.   Silly humans, we have this need to connect on an elemental level.  Contrary to what many people said in the internet world, newspapers are still going strong.  What would our morning coffee be without a newspaper in hand?

 I have a collection of pens in many different colors; ball points, fine line markers, gel pens and a fountain pen.  I get a big kick out of my many pens and  different writing papers.  Sometimes I just don’t write a letter,  I illustrate it too.  Do you? Cheers to The Art of the Hand Written Letter.

 

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College- Just Another Commodity

Well, I have heard it all.  Now certain colleges are no longer requiring SAT scores to get in.  College used to count, it used to mean something to the select few who managed to get in.  College, like so many other things has become just another commodity.  All that counts is the bottom line, the amount of tuition that can be generated in one academic year.  I understand some people just don’t test well, but I don’t think the SAT’s should be done away with.

Unfortunately, we have become a nation of excuse makers.  This will not serve us well in the long run.  What if a person who wanted to become a neurosurgeon “just didn’t test well” and was excused from all college testing? What if not only did he or she not test well, but  never had a full grasp of the basics of biology and chemistry.  Would you be comfortable with this person operating on your brain?  

Some things in life are tough (like college boards), having babies without anesthesia or dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker.  Professional dancers train for years to get to the level they need to be.   Some things should be tough because it means that much more when you finally reach your goal.  College is not for everyone.  A prospective student should have to hit certain benchmarks.  I  strongly believe this and I was not even a traditional college student.  I was a fine art major.  In order to become accepted at the fine arts college I went to, a prospective student had to produce a portfolio of work showing solid drawing, painting and conceptualization skills.  If my portfolio wasn’t up to snuff there is no way I would’ve gotten in.  I am proud that I got in on the merits of my portfolio and not wishful thinking .  I worked for this.  Work is a good thing.  There is no excuse for a job poorly done. Period.