Brett and Kate McKay are the founders and managers of "The Art of Manliness" website. Brett McKay writes a compelling tribute to the importance of letter writing. Although the article targets principally men, the tenor of it applies to women as well.
He points out that, despite the usefulness of modern social media, there is something truly irreplaceable with the writing and receiving of a traditional letter. Its very physicality endows it with personality, as a letter is brought home from the mailbox "as an invited guest."
McKay also brings to light the legacy of old letters to be cherished as priceless documents of family history. To him, anything of truly profound importance cannot be conveyed by an email, it deserves the best writing has to offer and that best is a hand-written letter, carefully and thoughtfully crafted.
To McKay, letter-writing is truly an art and requires special tools to carry the proper impact: quality stationery and pens are the basics. He recommends using a fountain pen which glides elegantly on the paper and conveys "a subtle hint of sophistication" that cheap ballpoint pens could never hope to achieve.
McKay even advises the use of sealing wax as an added touch of class...and fun. Whether one uses a wax seal or not, a letter opener is a must, because it slits the envelope neatly, allowing for the further preservation of its contents, instead or tearing it sloppily.
The second part of the article quotes from Hills Manual of Social and Business Forms, a book written in 1821, which recommends attention to style and manner, purity of expression and form, and respect of etiquette.
We live in an age in which speed seems to rule supreme and that has lost sight of beauty, quality, and the importance of putting one's self into what one undertakes. McKay's article brings back the focus to what matters and a way to convey that which is most important to us. Someone said that what was worth doing was worth doing well. Conveying our thoughts and feelings to others is certainly important, since communication is what makes us human; therefore, we must take seriously the means by which we express what is of value to us, and a vital part of accomplishing this is to select with care the tools and method by which our ideas might touch not only the intended recipients of today, but possibly future generations as well.