Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Weekly Roundup 4: Correspondence


The long month of January winds down today! I think I've appreciated the slow pace more than usual this year. But I'll still be happy when spring comes.

Correspondence: I was browsing through the library and came across the newly released Remembrance - Selected Correspondence of Ray Bradbury. Bradbury has always been one of my favorite authors. He was a very prolific writer of fiction, poetry, and screenplays, and apparently letters, too. The book, which I've just started, includes letters written from Bradbury's teen years into his 90s. There are a lot of authors and editors, but also family members, friends, political figures, etc. Here's an excerpt from a letter written to the Republican party in November, 1952, that feels all too relevant today:

"I have seen too much fear in a country that has no right to be afraid. I have seen too many campaigns...won on the issue of fear itself, and not on the facts. I do not want to hear any more of this claptrap and nonsense from you. ... I do not want any more lies, any more prejudice, any more smears."

But back to correspondence. I use and appreciate technology every day, but that doesn't mean I don't miss things that fall by the wayside. Case in point, handwritten letters. I appreciate them for their historical importance--my husband has family letters dating back to World War I--and for their glimpse into a particular person's mind on a particular day in a particular place. The handwriting, the paper and ink, the stamps, they all preserve a moment in time. A few years ago, my sister and I started exchanging letters. We write one letter on alternating months, so we each send and receive six letters a year. And I still get excited when I see her envelope in my mailbox. 

Thankfully, the internet has plenty of information on letter writing groups and societies for anyone who wants their correspondence to include more than texts, chats, and emails.

Candlelight dinners: Ingrid Fetell Lee is a designer, author, and expert on the aesthetics of joy. Her latest newsletter had a blurb about her 3-year-old son asking if they could light candles at dinner. It reminded me that we used to do the same thing when my boys were young. Even though I got tired of sweeping up little bits of broken wax picked off by busy fingers night after night, we all loved having dinner by candlelight. Even though the flames are small, the light and warmth bring people together in a special way.

I hope January treated you well! See you in February!

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