With all the election week brouhaha, I got to thinking about the mail, and then recalling an essay I wrote here a few years ago about letter writing. Here’s a revised version of that essay that I aired for the Arts Express radio program. Click on the triangle or link to hear it as broadcast today on WBAI.org and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
I’m glad you didn’t put THAT letter,
in a bottle!
too simple and silly to say.
I can only say “Brilliant”.
Somethings can hit so hard,
only a piece of comedy
can settle me down.
A really fine piece Jack.
p.s.: A smile for you.
Thanks, Dennis. And thanks for being such a fine correspondent yourself! D.A.C. song is great.
Your mention of your wife’s Jewish grandmother’s last letter from Vienna during World War II is haunting. I assume the horrific worst.
I just heard this essay for the first time today. It evokes memories of my own relationship to letter writing and those of our generation, Jack. In a way, modern electronic communication including email and social media have revived written communication albeit not the letter.
Coincidently, just the other day I stumbled upon a box of old letters between some relatives of mine. The correspondents were very old ladies when I was just a young boy and their letters dated from their own younger years.
I am always impressed by the beautiful, practicesd script in which they wrote. The narrow yellowed envelopes and old one and two cent stamps that have been hand cancelled tell their age.
I was surprised by how they wrote each other every few days or even more often. I was also unimpressed with the generally mundane nature of the letters contents, nothing about which I would write a letter.
Then I realized, these letters were written before the widespread advent of the first real electronic letter writing killer: the telephone!
Hi Jim. The mundaness part really rings a bell. The letters from Vienna, before they stopped coming, spoke a lot about the prices of oranges and so forth.