Last Christmas, my son gave me a set of homemade writer dice. Now when I sit down for a warmup exercise, I roll a die or dice and journal about the suggested character, technique, or ponder point. When I enjoyed the maiden roll, the die landed on “epistolary”. According to Merriam-Webster the word means “Of relating to or suitable to a letter.” Or: “Written in the form of a series of letters.”

I smiled.

In my recently completed manuscript, my main characters, both writers, exchange texts, emails, and letters during the story. I’ve wanted to reflect on the importance of such communication. In particular the role of letters in 2024 versus two hundred years ago. Once a relied upon method of communication, a handwritten letter is now a dying art form. Yes, everyone appreciates a text’s convenience or brief break from the day’s activities. But technology aside, can you deny the swell in your chest when you receive a letter in the mail, written by someone who devoted their undivided attention to you? Who slowed down and considered it so important to offer words of encouragement or congratulations when she could have sent a text, gif, or posted a generic comment on your social media. A letter’s intimacy shuns technology and embraces the importance of exchanges that should last forever. Undeletable.

If you’re rolling your eyes at such sentiment, consider this example. We created time capsules for our children that were sealed on their first birthday, to be opened on their 25th. No smartphones or texting within sight back then, but email existed. We asked family members to write letters to our children. When our daughter opened hers, she had some laughs at the mementos from her birth year. However, the letters mesmerized. (Two from people who had passed on.) The prose, funny or poignant, imprinted on her heart more than any text ever could.

We all have the power to do that today. Pick someone you care about and write them a note, shell out the cash for a stamp, and send it.

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