World Letter Writing Day

For so much of human history, there were only two ways of communicating with others – you sat and talked with them face to face, or you wrote a letter. On September 1, we celebrate the latter. Richard Simpkin, an Australian photographer, author and artist invented World Letter Writing Day (not to be confused with Holiday Letter Writing Day, which is December 7) in 2014. As a fan of handwritten letters, he believes they are much more personal than e-mails for example.

There are good reasons for taking the time to write with pen and paper. For one thing, you naturally stop and think about what you are writing, to express yourself with clear and complete thoughts. It is also such an unexpected thing in this day of instant communication, that it can make you stand out as special, and can be very meaningful to the receiver. It can be a good way to slow down in our hectic world. You can express your own personality in letters in the way email or other ways don’t provide by choosing the paper style and ink color. And, politically speaking, it is said that physical letters carry much more weight with elected officials than do emails or signing a petition.

Now purists of this day would have you believe that you must use actual paper and pen to write your letter – and it is certainly nicer that way. However, when I want to do more than dash off a quick email reply to someone, I “write” my letter in a word processing program so that I can get my thoughts down, and then copy and paste it into the email reply. So, it’s better to do something like that, than to let this day pass unnoticed altogether. But do write to someone today!

Quotes about writing letters

A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.–Emily Dickinson

I consider it a good rule for letter-writing to leave unmentioned what the recipient already knows, and instead tell him something new.–Sigmund Freud

In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people’s lives.–Anatole Broyard

I have now attained the true art of letter-writing, which we are always told, is to express on paper exactly what one would say to the same person by word of mouth.–Jane Austen

Letter writing is an excellent way of slowing down this lunatic helterskelter universe long enough to gather one’s thoughts–Nick Bantock

More than kisses, letters mingle souls.–John Donne

Don’t you like to write letters? I do because it’s such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you’ve done something.–Ernest Hemingway

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.–Pam Brown

I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.–Blaise Pascal

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere, without moving anything but your heart.–Phyllis Grissim-Theroux

It does me good to write a letter which is not a response to a demand, a gratuitous letter, so to speak, which has accumulated in me like the waters of a reservoir.–Henry Miller

This at least should be a rule through the letter-writing world: that no angry letter be posted till four-and-twenty hours will have elapsed since it was written.–Anthony Trollope

I like writing letters and receiving letters. It’s a shame that we’ve lost the art of letter-writing and saving correspondence. I mourn that.–Elizabeth McGovern

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