Thursday, June 02, 2016

Another Era

Soon I'll take out my yellow lined pad and write several hand-written letters. I'll use a fountain pen that doesn't rely on a cartridge. Deep black ink or sepia or dark gray. One pen with a fine point is loaded with sepia-- black, permanent ink is in two other pens.

Writing a letter feels organic. A handwritten letter bears the idiosyncratic markings of the letter writer. One writer tilts her letters, another alternates between printing and cursive-- a hybrid. Touch a word and know that you connected with another person.

Long ago, said the teller of tales, I wrote to more than a dozen people. I kept a running record of  sent and received letters. There were rules to be followed. Despite how much I wanted to respond immediately to some letters, I had to wait a week-- sometimes two weeks.

The comings and goings of each letter were noted as well as a short synopsis of an outgoing letter.

One friend, a reader of Charles Williams, introduced me to the Inklings-- C.S.Lewis, Tolkein, Owen Barfield, and Williams. Despite her encouragement I never finished one of William's books.While another friend shared her love of Herman Melville.That was the year we read four Melville books and discussed them in letters.

One year I followed the travails of a friend who owned a women's bookstore in Ithica.

Letters arrived with coffee stains, water marks, smears from pens.

Spelling mistakes weren't corrected by some robot hidden in my computer. Sentences meandered. Time waited.

A letter is a visit.


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