Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Letter 15

This week was the turn of writing to somone not quite so familiar/unfamiliar as myself. A few years ago I set myself the task of remembering everyone's birthday and sending them a card. I failed after February, but with that haunting me like a tiny wimpy ghost, I wrote to a friend I've not seen for a while, who has just had a birthday. Enough clues though!

What struck me with this writings is the details that you choose to put in whether consciously or unconsciously. I'm rubbish at thinking about what people would actually like to know, so jabber about stuff so it mostly becomes a "did you know I did this?" list. My list included tuba, ape language and colonic irrigation. Make of that what you will ...

In a recent letter exchange with a friend, we discussed how sometimes when you write to people you can feel much closer to them than you do if you see them everyday locally. I don't think that sense of written closeness goes away, and like old slippers, friends slip into old jokes.

I've talked before about intensity in war letters. A while ago I read Bomber Boys which quotes a couple of letters from one bomber crew member to his girl. He'd met her once at a dance and then they wrote, then they met and he proposed. She declined. The lady in question then spoke about how she felt like a crutch to him and fancied someone else, but couldn't not reply. I gave my copy away else I'd tell you the pages to look at. The point I'm trying to question is whether the relationships you create with the written word feel more real than they are. Does distance make you closer? (I understand my unrequited WW2 love story is perhaps not the best starting point.) Nowadays - how old does that sound - I guess we have a much greater reliance on the written word than we realise. How many people text rather than phone? Those competitions that Stephen Fry judges about the most beautiful tweet.

Hidden behind new technology, we're all just writing letters all the time.

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