I courted my now-wife by hand-writing letters to her while she was on the other side of an ocean. She was in France for a semester of studying abroad and not ready to start a new relationship. I sent the first one a couple of weeks before she left, actually, hoping it would be waiting for her. It ended up being a week late, but that’s not bad.
Each of my groomsdudes will have a hand-written note with their gift for standing with me at the wedding. Mostly we communicate through Facebook or email. Mostly we see each other, oh, maybe a few times a year if I’m lucky.
While I was working through severe depression and disappointment in myself after high school and my abortive college career, I wrote to myself. I spilled my thoughts onto paper, with a pen, in cursive. And there were tears on my looseleaf and notebooks.
Handwriting – cursive, careful, crafted handwriting – really holds a special place in my heart. It’s a more personal way to communicate, I think. It’s a way to pace myself, to martial my thoughts down to a speed where I can wallow or exult in the concepts and feelings that they’re related to. It’s a way to carve a piece of art out of graphite or to bleed inked thoughts onto a page. Not just communicate, but communicate through a medium that takes time, thought, care, and effort.
I know that I romanticize this idea. I know that the people I write to or for probably don’t see it the same way I do. I know that I don’t always appreciate what I’ve done in the past – trying my hand at poetry or just bitching and moaning at the page and the universe. When I boil it all down, though, the act of writing – by hand, in cursive, and with purpose – is really meditative for me. It centers me and calms me, giving me some degree of serenity that I hadn’t had before. It helps me distill the chaos that occasionally courses through my head. It’s another mode of philosophical awareness that grounds me and it allows me to feel like I’ve put a little bit of my soul into something that I can then pass on to someone I care about.
I’m working on always remembering these little things that can keep me on an even keel and help me share with people that I appreciate them and that I’m thinking of them.