By Laura Carlo
As someone in the “communications business” you’d think I’d be thrilled that we have so many ways to communicate over long distances today. Want to get someone quickly? We have tweets to e-mails to cell phones to Skype. I guess with the crazy schedules we live today anything that keeps people in touch is good...but frankly, I got so tired of friends “poking me” on Facebook and ... saying not much ... that I actually closed out my personal Facebook account this year. You see, when you have so little time to treat yourself to something nice, something special, these things are just not soul-satisfying to me. I miss the days when there would be stamped letters in my mailbox regularly. I’d see the return address and just know there would be a reason to smile whether it was another family recipe from a beloved aunt, a really funny card from a high school pal, a thoughtful missive from a former college professor or, heart-be-still---a love letter I would carry carefully to a quiet spot and read and re-read a million times. Nowadays my mailbox transports only catalogs, bills and the occasional invitation to visit a timeshare to possibly win airfare to the Caribbean. Whatever did we do before texting? Did we actually have to hand-write thank-you notes and newsy updates about our lives? Beethoven’s favorite author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, once said “Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.” What is left behind from a voice mail, or a tweet? Our generation could be in danger of leaving behind nothing significant of the personal.
Look at these quotes about letter writing:
"A letter is a blessing, a great and all-too-rare privilege that can turn a private moment into an exalted experience." – Alexandra Stoddard
"The word that is heard perishes, but the letter that is written remains." - Anon.
Every weekday this month I’ll be playing music that was mentioned in a composer’s letter or written at a time when a letter lets us in on the significant happenings in his life at the time. Whether the letters are explanations or excuses, it’s fun to see/hear their innermost thoughts laid bare by ink on paper.
"Or don't you like to write letters? I do because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something." - Ernest Hemingway.
I hope you enjoy the pieces and the letters that go with them. Maybe you’ll even drop me a line about it? And while you're considering what you might write, check out this piece on letter writing.
Your Morning Laura
(image: Wikimedia Commons)
Subscribe to WGBH Arts & Drama Emails
Support for WGBH is provided by:Become a WGBH sponsor