Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"The Art of the Handwritten Note" by Luke Ives Pontifell

While flipping through a Brooks Brothers catalogue, I came across a cute article titled, "The Art of the Handwritten Note" by Luke Ives Pontifell (founder of Thornwillow Press).  I love this piece since it celebrates the significance and impact of a simple old-fashioned, thoughtful gesture, the handwritten note.

Whether for a birthday, thank you, condolence, congratulations, or simple thinking-of-you occasion, there is no more effective, strait-from-the-heart way to convey your feelings to the recipient.  Who doesn't love receiving a hand-written letter? So simple, so easy to complete, yet so meaningful and rewarding to both send and receive!  Particularly in our current screen-obsessed culture of emailing, texting, tweeting, and Facebooking, this article reminds us to value the importance of this (often lost) art.

I also included some photos of cute stationery from our local store, Paper Trails in Rocky River (Cleveland)...

Wanted to share the article with you....Enjoy!

"The Art of the Handwritten Note"

* Reaffirming the value of pen and paper in the digital age *

Written by Luke Ives Pontifell

"We are told again and again, that no one writes anymore, the letter is dead, overrun by tweets, eblasts, and texts.  I disagree. Now more than ever, as John Donne reminded "more than kisses, letters mingle souls."

In this age of disposable and intangible communications - when we delete our emails, hang up our conversations, and literally turn on and off our books, a letter, a real letter, written by hand with a pen, on paper is as powerful a way of communicating as ever.

A thoughtful letter can be saved, savored, and reread...and passed to readers yet born.  It provides permanence and longevity to an idea, a sentiment, an emotion.  "Letters," German writer, poet, and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, "are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them."

Some letters are best never written.  The angry, bitter, critical, or deprecating letter, when allowed to get out of the pen and out the door, will always be saved.  It is certain to be reread again and again and you will never be able to elude the ill will that you spawned. Emily Post recommended writing such letters with reckless abandon, reading and rereading them yourself...but then ripping them into small pieces and never mailing.

Other letters must be written.  The expression of love, of praise, congratulation or appreciation is something to collect and reread with joy.  It is never unwelcome.  If I were to suggest one thing that will make you a better person, it would be for you to put a box of note cards next to your bed and encourage you to write a note to whomever you dined with that evening or enjoyed an interesting exchange during the day, or to someone who did you a favor.  Thanks is eternal. I know no one who doesn't appreciate being thanked even for the smallest kindness. Henry Miller wrote: "It does me good to write a letter which is not a response to a demand, a gratuitous letter, so to speak, which has accumulated in me like the waters of a reservoir."

A letter is a means for engagement and thoughtful dialogue while at the same time offers an opportunity for reflection and for pause. "Letter writing," Lord Byron wrote, "is the only device for combining solitude with good company."

A letter is an object. It can be written on beautiful heavy, engraved paper, the kind of paper that you could build a house with, paper that will last, paper that says something about you, perhaps emblazoned with your monogram or a whimsical motif that tells the recipient of your communique that you have a sense of humor. A letter can enhance the relationship between the reader and the writer. Like a musical instrument, it is a physical object that exists between the world of the creator and the recipient." -- Luke Ives Pontifell

Some cute stationery from local paper store, Paper Trails, obtained from their website...


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