Saturday, October 6, 2012

Inspiration for Letter Writing

I find  that I need inspiration for letter writing.  Do you?   I need quiet, I need order, and I need a sense of wonder.  Rainer Maria Rilke stated, "Starting is so beautiful..."  What do you need to get started in your letter writing experience?

Alexandra Stoddard, in her book Gift of a Letter,  states:

I always  try to have a small bud vase with at least one fresh flower placed in front of me on my writing desk for inspiration...A flower is alive and fragile, and reminds me of both the beauty and the mortality of life...

She goes on to say:

There is a strong aesthetic dimension to letters that goes beyond selected words and unique handwriting.  The quality, color and design of the paper used, the width of the pen nib , the color if ink , the color of engraving, the type of stationery, the sealing wax ...the selection  of stamps...all tell a very personal story. These are further aesthetic and physical elements we use to communicate our feelings in a letter:  the size, shape and weight of the envelope, the color, the tissue lining, the scent, the hand-painted border, the smoothness and color of paper--all add to the pleasure of writing, receiving and enjoying a letter. 

So, it seems it would not hurt to have all of your letter writing materials at hand for when the mood strikes!  Try to  have a  variety of  stationery, stamps , seals, wax, and all of the wonderful writing paraphernalia  in easy reach.  This will facilitate letter writing when  you want to sit down and correspond!

Have  you ever tried writing in a new surrounding?  I have a beautiful writing desk that I  treated myself to years ago.  It is romantic in style and just beckons me to  sit down and write a letter.  I love my little writing desk!  But sometimes I  feel the need for a different environment.  I would encourage you to find a "secret garden" if you have one.  I don't have one...yet, but I do have a sweet  outdoor swing where I have sat before and written letters on my lap.  I also love to sit on my porch and write letters!

And then there is my most recent  inspiring   setting...the gorgeous Atlantic ocean!  Who CAN'T get inspired by  the wonder of the crashing waves, the smell of the salty air, the sounds of the sea gulls...the sand between your toes...?  There I am...with my bag of writing utensils...penning a letter with the amazing  ocean at my feet.

What inspires you?  Leave me a comment and let me know  what gets your writing motor going. For the rest of you... go out and find  some inspiration.. and .get out of your rut...and write that letter you've been meaning to send. 



  1. Hi!
    I just stumbled upon your blog and am glad to "meet" another fan of Alexandra Stoddard's little book "Gift of a Letter". It was the first such letter writing book I bought (20-something years ago) & while my collection of snail mail books has grown, hers is still one of my favorites. =D So good to see more & more people bringing back the art of letter writing.

  2. This has been a challenge as of late. I've become bogged down with the things of this world (tasks, errands, work, catch-up) that I forget the most obvious thing to do: SLOW DOWN! The magic is that "a sense of wonder" about your surroundings or a moment that you recently had (and no so much what you did that day or weekend). Life is actually full of these breathtaking experiences in what I often overlook. The seemingly simple or mundane or routine can be the most profound if you slow down enough to take note of it. That's why I now take leisurely strolls to look about me. What is it that life is showing me in that moment in my life right at that instant? For example, the other day I saw a bride and groom (fully decked out in their regalia) taking photographs on the boardwalk. I was on my lunch break and could have easily missed this moment if I had been worrying about a report I had to do or mulling over a disagreement with a coworker. This moment of course led to me ruminating on marriage in general and how I feel about the institution...This is how good letters are made. One breath, one slice of life at a time.

    1. Yes, your observations are so true! It is the mundane that is magically transposed into the marvelous by perhaps a fresh approach or perspective!