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Ultimate social-distancing: letter writing

At this time of social-distancing, we have Zoom (and other video chats), and email, and our phones to keep in contact with the ones we love and cherish. But what about a letter?

Yes, I am advocating for hand-written (or printed) letters! My name is Sara and I am the Artistic Director (the one who organizes the classes) at FBAC.

Stamps can be delivered to you by mail, and most people have envelopes and paper. It seems like this would be a great time to revive the art of writing a letter. A lot of pleasure is experienced when you receive a handwritten letter (and write one). It helps pass the time, and gives a bit of a change-up from a phone call. It lets you organize your thoughts and process what is happening around you in a more calm manner. Some people think of letter writing as a type of meditation, or relaxation, but I do it because I just like getting letters (instead of junk mail and bills).

The simple art of writing a letter is being slowly lost, but today, I have some basic tips for you. There are many variations on this:

1. Start with a clean piece of paper and an envelope. Check you have a basic stamp. Some people in your household might have stationery, so ask around. I have these personalized cards given to me years ago, so I will use that.

2. The righthand side of the top of the paper should be your address, and today's date a little below it. (Yes, my writing is always this messy...sometimes it is worse!)

3. Start your letter with a greeting. "Dear" has been a common one in usage, and is a good fallback if you cannot think of anything else.

4. Put a comma after the person's name. Then leave a line and start your letter. (My parents are in Australia, so "Mum" is the usual, not "Mom". Oh, and I have a stepfather...Ralf).

5. What do you write? Well, a good rule of thumb is to talk about when you last saw each other, and then choose three or four things going on in your life (each their own paragraph). I wrote about a) an addition to our household, b) my work, and c) my garden.

6. Tie up the letter with asking some basic questions about them and what is going on for their household.

7. Then end by a well-wished statement like "We are all fine. I hope you and your family are doing okay."

8. The final part of the letter is to sign off. "Sincerely" is a good one to use for people you know (or don't). Yes, I used a different way to sign off because my parents are more used to that greeting...I know, don't hassle me about it.

9. Fold up the letter and put it into the envelope. Put a stamp on the sealed envelope on the righthand side at the top (of the front). I wrote on a card (opened up) because I just like these cards.

10. Write the person's address in the middle of the envelope, paying attention to the correct way to lay out an address. Name first, next line (street address), final line (city, state, and zipcode). If you add one more line it is usually for another country. I have left off the country to make this easier.

11. Write your address and name in the smaller letters in the top lefthand corner of the envelope.

12. After all these steps, take it out to your mailbox for pickup and delivery. But make sure to put a REAL stamp in the space of my place marker for one. Notice, I wrote my parent's "real" names instead of how I refer to them, on the front of the letter. Then if it ends up with a neighbor by accident, they will know who to send it to.

That wasn't so hard, after all...Even a short letter brings a lot of joy.

Let us know how you did via social media. Did you send a letter to your parents? To a friend? Did you send a love letter (that's a better way to date than Zoom at times)?

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