If anything, the past ten years spent in a digital world has made me long for a return to more things analog. Although blogging about books has enriched me immeasurably, both with the people and the literature it has brought to my life, I will always most appreciate the feel of a book: the scent of its binding, the whisper of its pages turned, the handwritten notes in the margin, the underlined passages. The convenience of a kindle, and the illumination of the nook’s screen, do not make up entirely for the weight of a novel in my hands.
And so it is with writing. Is there any email that can replace a handwritten letter? The handwriting is an extension of the sender; the personality, the mood, the sentiment is all conveyed so seamlessly on the smooth page. I love to consider handwriting, for I feel it reveals so much when I look at the size, the slant, the formation of the lower loops. Long have I studied handwriting analysis; longer still have I taught cursive to my class, one of the few teachers in our elementary building who continues to do so.
So it thrilled me to come across the Letter Writers Alliance based in my very own city of Chicago. For a mere $5.00 you can become a member, thereby gaining access to the member’s shop, but more importantly, a pen pal of your own.
Once you have applied to become a member you must actually wait until your letter arrives, which includes a membership card with your own ID number, as well as a username and password for the site.
Then you can enter your number into a very brief questionnaire which will help the organizers make a match for you.
I am awaiting the name and address of the person to whom I will write, but I had to share this alliance with you in case you feel as I do: the need to be more like a person, and less like a machine, through the time honored tradition of the handwritten letter.