Dear reader of my blog,
I hope this letter finds you well. Do you mind me asking, when was the last time you wrote a letter? I confess, it’s been a while for me… With that in mind, I thought I would share a few dates that you may like to add to your calendar:
- Universal Letter Writing Week begins every year on the 2nd Sunday of January – the perfect motivation to get going with your New Year resolution to ‘stay in touch’.
- Hmm. There’s also International Letter Writing Week in the 2nd week of October…
- World Letter Writing Day was launched on September 1st, 2014 although the US celebrates…
- National Letter Writing Day on December 7th, and perhaps it is something different again, depending on wherever you are in the world.
- But don’t forget there’s also World Post Day on October 9th!
All this encouragement to send a letter is great, but at the end of the day, the date you choose is immaterial, so long as you make the time – at any time. You don’t need a reason to send a letter: ‘just because’ really is reason enough, and any day of the year is perfectly adequate.
Stamps exist because of the need of human beings to communicate and connect with each other. Before the days of instant communication by text or email or skype – or even telephone! – letters were the thing which connected us, from country to country, from town to town, even from street to street. Once upon a time, there were multiple postal deliveries every day, to keep up with the fine art of letter writing.
Correspondence between famous figures in history and literature can be found in almost every museum (and the Letters of Note blog, too!); but not every letter needs to be a masterpiece. You can write about the most inconsequential, everyday matters and the recipient will appreciate that you took the time to pick up a pen and share whatever you happened to be thinking. While a text or an email is immediate, there is a special quality to ink on paper that multiplies the words, and somehow also gives expression to the words left unsaid. A letter carries a piece of you with it that simply cannot be conveyed through a message on a screen.
Some historic moments in postal history illustrated with postage stamps:
In 1840, Rowland Hill campaigned for the Uniform Penny Post to standardise mail delivery across the United Kingdom. Soon thereafter, the famous Penny Black stamp was introduced. Over the years, Hill has been immortalised on literally hundreds of postage stamps from many different countries worldwide.
In 1874, the Universal Postal Union was formed to simplify and standardise the carriage of mail between countries around the world.
Experiments with airmail began as early as 1911, but was still in its infancy in the 1920s. Did you know that Antoine de Saint-Exupery (author of The Little Prince) was one of the pioneers of international postal flight, and wrote the novel Southern Mail in 1929, based on his own experiences flying for the French airmail service?
And don’t you think a stamp on the envelope helps add character to a letter? Next time you have a letter in hand, remember to ask at your post office for a stamp instead of a label. There are some amazing stamps out there, but even ‘boring’ definitives can make a striking collection. You never know, maybe your letter will encourage somebody else to discover the joy of stamps – and of course letter writing! – too.
I had better sign off now, as time is escaping. But perhaps tomorrow I will trap some of it between some ink and paper & send it off to someone I’ve been meaning to write to for far too long…
P.S. If you’ve been inspired to put pen to paper, check out my stamp art letter sets for stationery that is just a little bit different…