Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Writing Letters

Recently I wrote a column about the impact of a handwritten letter.  Now that everything is facebook, email or twitter, it's quite impactful to receive a handwritten note . . . or to send one.  I still create these dinosaurs myself.  In the past two weeks I've written letters to:

* A publisher in New York, thanking the firm for agreeing to publish my next book (likely in 2015) and informing the editorial team that I plan to hand-deliver my manuscript to their offices in October.

* An editor, thanking her for giving me an opportunity to write for her magazine.

* Several letters to my wife.

These latter letters, of course, are part and parcel of what I hope to collect in my epistolary anthology before I die.  I think people would love to read these personal letters that I leave on the kitchen cabinet or send back to my wife (who is usually the first one to address to dire food supply in the house, or writes, wondering why there is a thin film on the kitchen floor that resembles pea soup).  Some of the letters I hope to collect are superb examples of the fine domestic tradition of exchange, as you can see:

Yes, I do plan to cook dinner on Wednesday night, but will not be able to eat until much later.  Please enjoy your defrosted chicken gizzards and succotash without me.  Naturally, I will be thinking of you every minute I am away and will count the moments until we see each other a week from next Tuesday, at which time I would like for you to review a bank statement and sign two documents (in triplicate) that grants permission for me to make health-initiative decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated or lapse into dementia or worse.  Thank you for marking this date on your already-full calendar.  Perhaps, after we decide your fate, we can pick up some ice cream afterwards.  Do you still like butter-pecan?
More hugs than kisses,

Dear Becky,
It is with a full heart and deep gratitude that I accept your invitation to dine with you a week from Friday.  I am, indeed, honored.  Please know that I weighed your invitation against many others but, quite frankly, I'm just not that popular and I don't typically do much on Friday nights anyway except a bit of personal grooming.  I hope you will forgive me when I say that, all things considered, you look ravishing and I have truly enjoyed our many conversations over the past thirty years, especially those conversations that have touched upon more intimate matters such as laminate flooring and making paint selections based on the color chips from Sherman Williams.  Rest assured I will bring along notes that will guide our dinner conversation and keep things focused on the issues that matter (this will include an Excel spreadsheet that I have created of certain high-moments in the marriage, including one childbirth--with accompanying photos.) Also, please excuse the formality of receiving this hand-written letter through your office courier (I folded it twice and smeared spaghetti sauce on it to ensure confidentiality). If you are offended by this, perhaps we can add this to the discussion list when we meet, and we could also add any other bullet points of improvement that you'd like to interject into the mix.  At any rate, have a great week.  I look forward to our meeting and promise to address your question:  "Why don't you get more jiggy wid' it?"  
Your comrade,

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