"Corresponding on paper lets you elevate a simple pleasure into an art form. And art has always survived technology. A handwritten note is like dining by candlelight instead of flicking on the lights, like making a gift instead of ordering a product, like taking a walk instead of driving. Handwritten notes will add a lot to your life. You can still use the telephone or the Web for the daily chores of staying in touch, but for the words that matter, it's courteous, classy, caring, and civilized to pick up a pen." From The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd.
As I strolled through the "Bargain" shelves at Barnes and Noble, this book title, The Art of the Handwritten Note, caught my eye. While I glanced through the pages, I realized that I have very few friends who correspond through handwritten letters or notes. Correspondence from friends and family is dear to me. Yet rarely do I print out an e-mail and tack it to my bulletin board, nor do I record phone calls for sentimentality. Tucked under the ribbons of the rose patterned memory board hanging on the wall are verse cards and letters penned by my closest friends. The treasures that fill our keepsake boxes are things done by hand.
Picture a woman seated at a desk, her skirt flowing around her, the inkwell open before her and a quill pen in her hand as she begins to write a letter. The pen against the paper makes a scratching sound with each stroke indicating the thought that passes from author to paper and soon to recipient. Perhaps her face is in her hand and she gazes into space searching for the appropriate words to express her feelings. That sounds lovely, but how often do we find ourselves in such a position? It is true that quill pens and flowing skirts are not as common as they once were, but the handwritten note is equally as elegant and lovely today as it was when Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy quarreled about true reputations.
A handwritten note does not need a specific occasion, although there are occasions that call for them. Thank-you notes will be left to another F.S. post altogether, for they occupy a special category of the notes we are discussing. You do not have to have perfect penmanship or a talent for artistic embellishments to make a note worth sending. Notes sent by mail require forethought and a willingness to bless. In an age that makes communication instant, messages spontaneous, and cards virtual, the handwritten note stands out. It communicates to the recipient extra thoughtfulness and polish.