Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'll Pay the $0.44

This Huffington Post article made me oddly sad today.

I accept change - I have been known to embrace new technologies - but does the new stuff have to mean we let ALL the old things go?

I don't want to imagine a world with no bookstores, no paper mail, NO HANDWRITTEN LETTERS.

Recently Harper (with encouragement) sent out thank you notes for her birthday gifts. More than one person who received said notes mentioned to me how her writing had improved from last year - you can't do that by email people!

I am a firm believer in the power of a hand written letter and I refuse to stop sending them. Maybe most of those cards/letters/notes wind up in people's recycling bins, but maybe one or two of them hold words that are important to someone, words that they want to reach into a drawer or pocket or bag to reread, to hold in their hands.

I may have mentioned here that I have been cleaning out boxes of memorabilia from my pre-adult life. Among the cards I found a birthday card that my brother signed in his grade school handwriting. It made me cry.

I can let Michael bang on the computer keys to produce a string of nonsense, but it sure isn't the same thing as the marks he makes with a crayon on paper.

So you can call me a dinosaur and tell me I need to let go of old ways. Or you can accept that I'm going to pay for the stamp. If we're good friends you probably have a piece of handwritten mail somewhere to prove it.


Marie Green said...

Well, now that you mention it, I DO have some handwritten mail from you. That I KEPT. :)

I love books and bookstores. I don't want to do everything electronically. I want to shut the cover of a book, put on my coat, and drive it over to my neighbor's house because it was so good that I want someone else to read it RIGHT NOW. What about handwritten notes in the margins? I don't usually write in books, but I'd hate to not be ABLE to. Typed notes or computer highlights wouldn't be the same.

Kate said...

Sigh. I know, Kelsey. Just this week I had three patrons ask if they could get downloadable books from the library. I'm sure many more will be asking after Christmas. Sometimes I feel like a telegraph worker who just found out about the telephone. Sometimes.

Emily said...

This made me sad and nostalgic, too. (And on Kate's comment - I just noticed that the Columbus library is offering e-books)

I think the ones that make me the saddest are that texting is replacing talking, and the separation between work and home (or the separation of any worlds from one another). The hard part is that I'm guilty of all of it - I text a lot, email much more frequently than talk on the phone, we don't have a landline, my husband doesn't wear a watch and I made him throw away that useless yellow pages book. So I have an odd feeling of nostaglia and guilt - taking advantage of the advancements (and enjoying them), but wondering what we're giving up in return?

Swistle said...

I still use an address book, wear a wrist watch, write snail-mail---and not only do I still have a landline, it's a CORDED phone.

bluedaisy said...

I also have an address book & love plain old mail...and we have a landline. I also write in a checkbook register and once in a while, I write a real check. And I don't mind. I was in a bookstore this past week (a few times) and thought to myself--I don't want to read from a kindle or a nook...I want to turn the pages of a real book! I am all for saving paper but for some things, I still like the old school way. In college, if I was having trouble getting stared on a paper, I always started out handwriting it. It triggered a different part of my brain & got my creative juices flowing. I still feel that way! Sometimes my blogging gets better if I am also journaling on paper. And I actually don't let my kids on our computer at all!

CARRIE said...

You are not alone.

I could write a tome about how iPhones and all this other technology makes us not "present" even when we're present. I spend a good portion of my life fighting the urge to jam my husband's phone up his arse because he checks people's twitter comments when I'm trying to have family time with the kids.

I feel about books the way some people do about vinyl LPs--the touch, the feel, the smell, the art. It is an experience. Holding a cold, metal slab is not the same.

And N LOVES mailing letters. Writing them, addressing the envelopes, placing the stamps & return labels. And she loves receiving mail from friends. What better way to encourage literacy. I have been thinking about finding a pen-pal for her. HEY---would Harper like to be pen-pals with N? Let me know. Inbox me from facebook if you are interested.

(Of course without that damned technology I wouldn't "know" you and be able to read your blog and know that other people geek out about books as much as I go.) ;)