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Can you say you’ve received or sent a hand-written letter in the last 5 years? 10 years? 20? I am sure many of you haven’t even received one your whole life. Perhaps a card with a longer note but an actual letter. I think the last one I received was from my grandmother.
Why would you take the time to write a letter, send it in the mail when it’s far easier, less time-consuming to simply send a text or email (which is considered somewhat old-fashioned itself). talk to letter-writers and receivers and you will hear how wonderful and rewarding letter writing actually is.
Letter writing is like a snapshot of a moment in time. It can capture what was going on in the world at the time it was being written and convey the emotions and thoughts of the writer. It can even be a glimpse into the personality of the writer. Imagine how exciting it is to find an old letter from a relative. It’s like holding a mirror that allows you to look into the past.
Palaeography (old writing) is the study of pre-modern manuscripts which includes scrolls, hand-written books and single-sheet documents. Palaeography studies texts by understanding pre-modern societies with the understanding that the presentation of the text is an important aspect of understanding its meaning.
In other words, palaeography includes the what, how, when and why of the use and evolution of handwriting to share information and ideas in times before the technology of printing was available.
Studying the handwriting of the past is a focus of historians whose goal is to authenticate and translate ancient documents.
In schools, cursive and penmanship used to be an important subject taught in grade school. Now there is no longer space for this skill as the focus is on digital-based writing. You may that it even used to be a fun part of school. Letter-writing was taught and letters were exchanged with pen pals from all over the world. Receiving a letter from a pen pal from across the country or even in another part of the world was exciting!
Perhaps for parents now, letter-writing can be taught in the home as a way to develop writing and communication skills. For once snail mail can actually be exciting if there is an anticipated receipt of a letter!
The most important thing to remember about writing a letter is it needs to be legible. Since many of us have not written extensively in the past years as our phones are there any time of the day or night, getting rusty is normal.
If you are contemplating writing a letter and it’s been a long time, just saying “Hello!” with a few details about the world around you is plenty. Here are a few other topics to help get the creativity flowing:
One of our favourite subjects as we love to offer some of the most beautiful stationery...If you are actually going to write a letter to someone, shouldn’t you take some time to consider the paper you’re going to use to write the letter?
Think of it this way, stationery can be an extension of your personality or perhaps chosen specifically to please the receiver of your letter.
Take a look at what we offer online and of course, as always, there is a lot more in the store in Ottawa’s ByWard Market that is sure to speak to your style and creativity.
It may seem straightforward: grab a piece of stationery and start writing. However, there are some pointers regarding the structure and content that you may find are helpful reminders:
Make sure to write the date as your letter can be a sort of time capsule. Potentially your letter may become a keepsake and forget to date it would be really sad.
While this is the standard greeting for a handwritten letter, you could consider the person who will receive your letter. Make is personal, show your personality and have fun with it.
Traditionally, the first line of the body of the first paragraph of the letter should be indented. Also, it’s helpful to break up your thoughts and subjects into different paragraphs for easier reading.
At the end of your letter, don’t just sign of with “sincerely”, take a moment again to think about who is reading your letter. Here are some examples:
Of course, your name comes afterwards.
This comes under your name and is a great way to include something you may have forgotten to write in the body of your letter or can be anything you choose.
As with the body of your letter, take the time to write clearly and legibly on the envelope. This is not the place to use fancy script or colours as your letter may not make it to its destination.
In the upper left corner of the envelope, include your name and address. In the centre of the envelope write the name and address of the receiver. Don’t forget a lovely stamp to send it off in style!