Big Think: Isabel Allende and The Dying Art of Letter Writing

Yesterday I mailed off a letter to my younger brother. Even though he lives in the same state and we could talk to each other every day on the phone, we still exchange letters. Sometimes we write to each other as often as every day and other times, we might ink out a letter a few times a month. In our letters we talk about our lives, family, literature and our thoughts on what’s going on in the world. I look forward to his letters and I know he looks forward to mine, especially since they’re usually four pages long or more. It made me think about writer Isabel Allende’s interview with the Big Think and what she thinks is the dying art of letter writing.

When you write someone a letter, there is so much to think about: what kind of paper to use, pen or pencil, what kind of stamp, and of course what to say. I’m a stationary kind of girl – the fancier the better. So I wanted to know your thoughts. Do you still write letters? Email is easier but there’s nothing like receiving a handwritten (or typed) letter in the mail addressed to you.

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9 Responses to Big Think: Isabel Allende and The Dying Art of Letter Writing

  1. bermudaonion says:

    I rarely write letters, but do agree there’s nothing like receiving one.

  2. Jenny says:

    I’ll occasionally send a letter, usually to people who have gone overseas, but mostly I do emails. I am always writing letters, intending to send them promptly, and then forgetting about them for weeks, finding them again, and throwing them out because they are no longer current. Then I feel guilty. :p

  3. Chris says:

    I so wish that I DID write more letters. I absolutely love sitting down to write a letter by hand..picking out the stationery…a perfect pen or pencil…the perfect stamp. There’s something so wonderful about it. So personal. And I love getting letters. But I rarely do😦 I need to fix that.

  4. Memory says:

    I used to write letters all the time, but it’s been a long, long time since I did so regularly. Soon after I moved to New Zealand, several of my family members sent me cards and letters for my birthday, and I’ve been replying to these, but I think I need a regular penpal or two to get me back in the swing of things.

  5. Michelle says:

    I dont’ write letters any more I’m an email, IM , Skype or video chat kind of girl. Real time is so much easier and current. Heck, my handwriting has even declined as a result of all the technology not requiring me to do so.

  6. zibilee says:

    I very rarely write letters these days, but I probably should start again. I love fancy stationary as well and used to collect it by the box!

  7. Michelle says:

    Oh, I love writing letters! I don’t do it often enough but I am ready with all sorts of stationary and even wax and a signet stamp to seal them. There is something so special about letter-writing, knowing that a person HAD to take time to write down their thoughts rather than dash them off quickly via e-mail or instant messaging. It is so much more intimate and special.

  8. Carl V. says:

    Wow, that was powerful. I’ll be saving a link to this post. Letter writing as a dying art has actually been on my mind off and on for the last couple of years and it is something I would really like to revive in my own life. I have had periods where I wrote letters regularly. Heck, when my wife and I were dating I wrote her letters every day during the summer when we were living in different states (college break). I even sent her two letters on Saturday as I knew one day a week (because of no mail on Sundays) she wouldn’t get a letter and so I sent two so that she could save one and not have any day of the week without a letter to read. Corny, I know, but I was a hopeless romantic. That all kind of came back to me when I was watching Bright Star earlier this year.

    Anyway, I have also noticed that my penmanship has gotten absolutely horrible. In my recent basement clean I found some of my journals from high school and from creative writing class and couldn’t believe how much my penmanship had degraded over the years. It is even hard to write neat when I try.

    Back when I did write letters more often I often did just what she describes–I chose the paper and envelopes carefully and purposely and did things to craft the letter rather than just scribbling something out. I really would like to start doing that again. It would be a good exercise in trying to restore my penmanship as well as connecting in a more personal way. I love this internet/blogging/email mode of connection and I know that it can be and is very real, but there is something about a tangible letter just as there is something about holding a book in one’s hand vs. reading on a machine.

    I’ve prattled on, sorry. This was just such an interesting post and video which ties in so well with where my head has been at lately. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  9. Kathleen says:

    I love writing and receiving letters but it is definitely a lost art. Most people I know have moved from letters to email just because it is so darn convenient. But that being said there are still a few people I know that I write letter too and I always try to send birthday cards to friends and write a little something in each one vs. send them the eCards that have become so popular.

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