I’m writing this a few weeks in advance so hopefully any people who didn’t know I was sending a letter have received theirs by now. Most people I’m sending to have received theirs thus far and they enjoyed reading them, just as I enjoyed writing them.
Some reactions I’ve gotten:
‘OMG SAH. I JUST GOT YOUR LETTER. It is so niccceeee. Thank you for this it means so much to me.’
‘Awhhh dude, I just got your letter and it’s amazing. I have never been so careful with opening an envelope, it’s so damn beautiful, man. wow. Really, you have brightened up my day so thank you a lot for that.’
‘I got your letter and got very emotional because it’s so beautiful and wholesome.’
‘Thank you for wanting to send me a letter’
‘OMG. I got this in the post. You are the best!’
‘I’m so happyyyy. THIS IS SO NICE. I’M GRINNING LIKE A DORK. Thank you!!!!. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH MY DUDE’
My friend’s mother: ‘Tell her it brought tears to my eyes’. She also found it just as amusing as my friend.
‘I want to savour the envelope and the thrill of receiving it because it’s so pretty and kind.’
So, this is a fairly short post just to say how incredibly important it is to find something to do at this time. Just to be clear, this is not me trying to tell you that quarantine is a self-care and self-betterment opportunity. It’s a global pandemic, you’re allowed to feel blue and slightly less productive. By something to do, I mean ways to cope. You want to feel control, by all means go and be productive and get loads of work done. Going mad because you feel cooped up? Open the windows and do a good workout. Miss your friends? Call them? Standard stuff.
I’ve found that something I miss is small surprises. This is a travel blog so of course, I revel in the surprises in globe-trotting and culture-shock. But even if I could travel right now, I would still give attention to small things. When a friend sees you’re down so they sneak off for five minutes and buy you your favourite chocolate bar, when you see a surprise event at your local shopping centre, when a stranger compliments you, when you help your exhausted parent cook, when you give a loved one an out of the blue embrace.
I’ve only really thought about this way as I sat down to see if I could concoct a blog post about this, but letters are a fantastic way to give people that small, pleasant surprise. Being indoors in your own home all day, it’s easy for things to feel monotonous. Not only will the contents of the letter make them happy, but the very envelope itself invokes some excitement.
The contents of the letter are of course important, tell someone things you appreciate about them, reminisce about something fun, tell them the weird dream you had last night… Maybe you want to tell them something somewhat sad and deep, that’s fine too. It’s a nice way to keep your calls upbeat but still get things off your chest. In that sense, the letters are often more for the sender than the recipient.
I’d never been a regular letter sender until this whole thing started but now I really do see the magic of it. This doesn’t mean I’m going to start advocating for the ban of email. But think about how nice of memory it will be when this blows over, to have a physical object to remember. Tip: I scan things just in case they get lost. Another tip: also send something fun you can engage with, like a book. That way, there’ll always be something to talk about.
The letters will hop around and see my friends as my proxy until we all break free.