Friday, April 07, 2006

I'm in The Times (too bad not in the money)!

In the swirl of the last month --during which I was accepted to four of the six graduate writing programs to which I applied (MFA in creative nonfiction -- I know, I can't believe it either), I nearly forgot that I also accomplished another writing goal -- a letter in the Letters to the Editor section of The New York Times. Last time that happened, I was 16 and a rabid New York Rangers fan and wrote in to protest Eddie Giacomin being traded to the Islanders. But I digress. For those of you who may not know, the Times receives thousands of letters every week, so if I may say so, it's a pretty nifty thing!

So, here it is -- written in response to an article that declared that letter-writing is a dead art for young people today, growing up in the age of text messages, instant messages, cell phones, and email.

The Touch, the Feel, of That Written Letter

Published: March 20, 2006
To the Editor:
Re "Write Grandma a What?" (Thursday Styles, March 16):
How sad that those of my children's generation — perhaps my own children — may never have the cache of old, personal letters and cards I have in my keepsake box.
I have only to sift through these stacks of letters, still neatly folded in their envelopes (some with obscenely low postage), and I am immediately transported back — to high school, camp, college, my first apartment and other significant times in my life.
There's a letter from Mom, in her neat penmanship, with triple exclamation points and underlines, congratulating me on making the dean's list. There's a card from a long-gone aunt, in her flourishing script, wishing me well on the birth of my first child.
Letters, notes and cards from friends and relatives all tell a tale and evoke the sender, even decades later, across continents, time, even death. What will the e-mail generation have instead? Who prints out e-mail or text messages?
I still insist that my kids (ages 8 and 12) write thank-you notes, in their own hand, mentioning the gift and something good about it. But then, I guess I'm a dinosaur.
-- March 16, 2006


Anonymous said...

Nice letter! I can see why they chose to publish it.

I agree that the art of letter writing shouldn't be lost.

(BTW--stopping over from the AW forums)

Bailey Stewart said...

This was very good. I have to admit that I am terrible at writing thank you notes, my mother never made me - so I applaud you for doing so regardless of whether letter writing is "dying" or not. BTW - I print out important emails.

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

BlueVelveeta said...

Beautiful - and agreed. There are some hold-outs among the email generation but far too many of my peers rely exclusively on correspondence media so restrictive that spelling out a word as short as "you" becomes impossible!

I just wanted to say congrats on your MFA acceptances. I'm just beginning the application process, and I'm scared to death (I found your blog from a posting in the CW MFA blog). Glad things have worked out for you, and best wishes for a wonderful experience!