A small collection.

A small collection.

It feels good.

It is a scarce feeling to have nowadays. The last one I sent prior to all this /r/fountainpenpals shenanigans was in 2012. And that itself was a shenanigan.

Not many objects delivered by the post office are handwritten. Most are typed and printed.

But the best part about it for me is the delay.

You might not understand what I mean when I say I like the delay.

I just like the unresponsiveness of a letter.

I write it – 2 to 3 hours.

I go mail it the next day – 12 to 24 hours.

The letter gets mailed out the next day – 12 to 24 hours.

Canada Post does it’s paperwork stuff & then actually mail it – 24~ hours.

It arrives in the requested mailbox (hopefully) – 12-24 hours.

They don’t see it for at least 2 days.

That’s 48 hours if you’re so inclined. I have a Skype group who’s average activity per day (lets say measured by messages sent) is a conservative 1000 messages. In this time frame, 2000 messages are sent. With 9 people, that’s about 222 messages per person. Add the fact that Skype is designed to be a voice communication software, AKA: via talking not text chatting, there’s a lot more than just the 2000 text messages sent.

What is the point I’m trying to get at here? Who knows.

I do know that if I’m sending an instant message to someone, I do it because the medium is fast. I also do it expecting a similarly quick response back. I don’t send 2-3 paragraphs as my one message, but instead just a few words.


Total word count of 12 spread over 3 messages.

I send the message with the expectation of a quick reply. Of constant updates of information. Of being able to fix any misunderstandings right away.

A letter doesn’t do any of that. I’ve only got this one chance, I better make it count.

I actually spend time thinking of the overall message I want to convey. I think about the tone of my letter, what I want to write about, what they want to hear, and what they don’t want to hear. I don’t do that for instant messages (generally). I only have to focus on myself – my goals and my dreams. Dreams of all the things I could write about, and goals of the things I will write about.

I get to reflect on what I’ve written too.

Yes, no form of corrective writing is as neat and tidy as pressing backspace, but there’s a certain charm in erase marks & crossed out words.

There’s a sense that the other person is trying. Right then and there, they only really focused on this letter, on you. I can’t say that for text communication. I’m focused on reading incoming messages, focused on typing as fast as I can, focused too much on what is going on, and not so much what I am doing. Letting myself reflect on my writing also makes me feel more in touch with the recipient. It makes the connection very real. While instant messaging is very real in that I can see the messages there, but they’re still only bytes of data. A series of 0’s and 1’s recorded somewhere in my hard drive where I cannot reach. With a letter, I can hold it. I can feel the crevices of the paper of the fold marks. I can see the press marks from when the pen hit the paper. I can see parts of the journey it took to find me here.

There’s also the feeling of frustration when you make a mistake.


This feels SO bad.

God, why did I mess up this ‘r’ right here?!

Why is cursive so hard?!

Why am I so bad at this…

However, there’s also the feeling of joy when you finish. It feels great to know you’ve accomplished something today.

But best of all, it’s personal.

Romantic movies seem to have some kind of handwritten letter of confession. Whether it be just how we perceive it now, or it was influenced by movies, a letter always feels so much more personal. So much more important. It is rare to find a handwritten letter that doesn’t address something personal. Of course, the increase in personal connection depends on how well you actually know the person. Writing to strangers feels much different then writing to close friends. Though when I am writing, the rest of the world melts away and only the letter remains.

It’s great.

And it feels great.

Except for my hands. They don’t particularly like it.