Monday, September 21, 2009

friends came by the studio as i worked today. i cut squares of fabric for quilts and ironed scraps that will be cut into smaller squares. the sun was strong. the energy was bright. i planned a new size for a quilt. and i talked to courtney about letter writing. after she left, i continued to ponder on the fading art of hand-written correspondence. there is an intimacy about a hand written letter that is rarely equalled. letters come from a silent place. ink and paper, such a physical extension of the hand and mind. the writing of a letter becomes not only a transfer of thoughts and ideas, but also an aesthetic communique. the variations of hand-writing. a coffee stain. the rapid scrawl of a sudden idea. the jagged edges of paper ripped from a spiral bound notebook. or the creamy silk of fine stationary. i have boxes of letters, saved from different stages of my life. the round loopy girlish writing of letters received while i was in boarding school. the longer, more serious missives while in university. and living in paris, the swoon when i saw a white envelope and it's angular address. letters from men i loved. and from men who loved me.

i also have collections of letters i have purchased from estates. they are fascinating, even without knowing the full extent of their context. i have one little bundle, tied in a tattered and faded light blue ribbon that are saved from the 1920's. letters of a summer love and the heartbreak that ensued. another collection that ranges from a son's letter to his parents, in the 1890's, telling of his intention to marry, letters from his father to the future daughter-in-law, letters between the newlyweds, letters from this couples child to her parents, and ultimately letters telling of the death of her father.....3 generations of a family, distilled to pages of writing.

will we have such historical treasures to leave future generations? letters carry more than words in them.


  1. Sadly, I had a teacher tell me she doesn't even teach cursive handwriting to her students anymore as everything will be typed by the time they grow up. Cursive replaced by typing. Kind of sad . . .

  2. seriously???? talk about allowing technology to weaken the human race.

  3. The extinction of cursive is upon us my friends. I suspect in the next 5 years all 3rd graders will learn to type instead. My son is in 1st grade and only yesterday I learned he'd never used the wide ruled "beginner" writing pads with the dotted middle lines - except at home. Never at school. My heart sank deeper than the molten core.