You have something to say, dammit! Now, if what you have to say is in the nature of something directed at one particular person, or if it’s something really intimate about your own thoughts, viewpoints, not the kind of thing you want to share with the masses, don’t hesitate to write it down. If you write it down, you can stop thinking about it. That’s basically the concept of being a writer. Clear some of those thoughts out to make way for the new ones—otherwise you get a clogged brain drain. This kind of thing is what you call a letter. You know letters?
Yes, today we call them emails, and you can certainly send your thoughts to its intended recipient as an email. But that leaves an electronic trail. Emails can be sent to others, whether accidentally or on purpose. Emails can be lost, they can be hacked. Emails are efficient, but efficiency is not appropriate for everything.
The human heart, for instance, is not efficient.
Creativity is not efficient. Passion is not efficient. Efficiency is nice for running businesses, but in life, many things are not meant to be efficient. Some things are meant to be handwritten in your own writing and handed to or mailed to or otherwise transported physically to another person. Yes. There is still a reason we need snail mail.
Missives of the human heart can’t often be said aloud, spontaneously.
They have to be said just right. They have to be phrased and rewritten and rephrased and have words and commas added in and taken out. They have to be spelled right so there is no chance at having one’s feelings misunderstood. The vernacular must be right. The jokes must be specially tailored to your mutual senses of humor.
These are missives of the human heart, and they should be written by hand, and they should be given to loved ones.
There is a reason to write these: so you don’t get interrupted.
This way, you say what you want to say in your own hand, with the passion of your light or heavy pen, large or small writing, underlined bits and things in parenthesis and afterthoughts scribbled in margins. Life, real life, the life we feel in relationships with others—these require moments of reflection, alone, with a pen. They require writing down. This is what letters are for. Letters are for complex, don’t-interrupt-me-yet feelings.