Letters

Does anyone actually write letters anymore? It seems like everything is communicated by text or email with even phone conversations becoming an endangered species. Idk what this is doing to us or our language but u have probably noticed the same thing. Btw, we even seem to have to provide the emotions in abbreviated, written form. Lol.

This phenomenon seems to be affecting everything. Have you noticed how emails are now often written in text speak as if no one can write in complete sentences anymore? Heck, we can dictate these messages now but we still type gibberish. I don’t get it.

And does anyone take the time to actually read what anyone else writes? Does anyone proofread what they write.  Even professionally I can send an email detailing a problem and proposed solution. It seems like the answer I’m likely to get is “Sounds great. Looks like we r good to gone”. Huh?

I love our new forms of communication and use them frequently myself. The problem is that I think we are about twenty years away from being unable to actually communicate in written form. I fear that spoken communication is at least on the threatened species list. Ever know someone who texts the person sitting next to them? I even texted my oldest son the other day when he was just in the next room.

I actually don’t so much mind the new forms of communication or even the styles of communication. In fact, an auto spelled message lacking in a quick proof read can result in a good laugh.

My fear is for the loss of our ability to accurately communicate well with our words. Language is so rich. There are limitations with written communications to be sure. We don’t get the vocal inflections, the body language or the ability for quick clarification that exist in face to face conversation or even in phone conversations to a large degree.

But we are at risk of losing something important nonetheless. I don’t think that the problem lies in the particular forms of communication. I think the problem lies in not taking the time to make sure we communicate well.

I don’t think beautiful writing requires a great deal of education to fully communicate either. Perhaps one of the most beautiful things I ever read was a series of letters my father had written to his parents while he was in the service during World War II. My father was 17 when he enlisted. Even more interesting were the letters my grandfather wrote in response. I never knew my grandfather. He died before I was born. Yet, in reading those letters, I felt that I did get to know my grandfather, a simple carpenter, because of his words. For instance, he would address my father as “son” throughout his correspondence. Son. What a great, rich word composed of three letters. It conveyed the authority of a father while still revealing the warmth of the father. And, because letters were the only means of communication to the GIs, my grandfather not only had to complete his thoughts but had to take the time to make sure he conveyed the emotions with the full and accurate meaning being complete in each letter. He had one shot at saying fully what he wanted to say to my dad. Grandfather had to take a bit of time, he had to proofread and he had to have fully read the prior letter from my father. Let’s not lose that. The richness of that communication is TGTBT.

Copyright 2013 Daniel Blake

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