Monday, September 27, 2010

How it all began...

They came regularly, almost weekly. My dear mother's letters. There was always the familiar script on the envelope and usually a nice puffy, fat letter.(Someone once told me that letters should be like babies....chubby and fat!) Upon opening the letter , a newspaper or magazine clipping might flutter to the floor, in general, it would be something particularly relevant just for me! Regardless of what else they might contain, they were sure to be
full of sweet, homey news. How many of those letters went unanswered, I really can not say, but I know that eventually they started to come with decreasing frequency. It was almost like a slow, painful death. But life was too fast and complicated , or so I thought. Marriage, babies, homeschooling, more babies, cell phones, email, texting,more babies, occasional snatches of lunch out with a girl friends...but to sit down and to respond thoughtfully to a letter was...well...almost the last thing that I thought I could handle mentally. And then after expending what little mental energy I possessed, my letters were long (ok, chalk up one positive, I spent some time on them,) but they were also unbelievably , incredibly boring! I would think to myself..."I would hate to receive one of these! Why, I could have talked to my mother on the phone and given her the contents of my letter without nearly so much exhausting effort!" And so I did. And so my letter writing career dribbled to a drop and then dried up. I convinced myself that it just wasn't worth it!

UNTIL the night of March 1st, 2009. My daughter and I were caught in a rare Virginia blizzard, coming home from a cancelled concert in which she was to have performed. A drive that would ordinarily have taken 40 minutes...took well over two hours. It was a miracle that we ever arrived home intact. It was an adventure that I will always treasure...the two feet of snow, driving through the perilous night. We were so thankful to be home, yes the power was out, but we were, snug ,and warm! It was then I felt an overwhelming desire to connect with someone...anyone and share these feelings I was experiencing. I felt creative, whimsical, and a very strong Jane Austen"ish" wit was flowing through my veins!! I could not ignore this desire. I was able to heat my tea kettle over a emergency canned flame and made myself a teapot of hot tea, I perused my china hutch for just the right bone china tea cup,  Now I was ready to sit down at the  table of my cozy, country kitchen. I ran up to my bedroom and found what suitable writing paper I could muster and secured an ink pen ...and then---wait! I felt a chill! I ran back and got my  vintage crocheted shawl.
Ahhhh....I now felt ready to "bear my soul"! I have never felt more inspired, nor had such an enjoyable time with penning that little feeble missive! What delight I felt as I rendered myself completely to the sensation of crafting a simple personal letter.

The leaves of the calendar have flitted by since that moment in time. I have been privileged to write many such epistles and I have learned much of the art of a hand written letter. My letter writing companions are many and they are all passion and fire as they respond post haste to my missives,in rapid fire succession! They possess greater wit, humor and a grander flourish than I, but I have been slowly learning and am constantly inspired. The simple letter is indeed a "literary form"!

I suppose the greatest blessing has been for me to reconnect with my mother in a more meaningful and purposeful way . Letter writing has taken me beyond the phone calls to a more intimate conversation. I am now the one sending the fat letters stuffed with clippings or pressed flowers along with my feeble attempt at humor and wit. How long has it been since you sat down to write a real letter. Share yourself with pen and ink with someone won't regret it