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Losing Letters

loveletters2I have this undying fascination for reading old documented letters compiled in books especially when it speaks of human affinities that usually begins in courting. Elegant scribbles of blotters, which are mostly portrayed in sepia, create a portal of the past of how men addressed their inamoratas with clandestine penmanship and poetic embellishments. Their age was very different then when SMS was not yet available for use. They only had the paper, inkwell and the blotter to send messages to their beloved (disregarding the case of distance), which are in turn carried by messengers, usually friends or relatives, who most of the time were intrigued and tempted to sneak into the content of letters. I haven’t really been a good letter writer, but I have a vivid memory, and making some that paved well while also being nosy of their outcomes.

Back in highschool when I was much enamored to the classic writings like that of Shakespeare’s addressing a sonnet to a beautiful lady of May, I also took the chances of conversing them through love letters. However I was not writing for my sake but for the bully classmates that sought my assistance to furnish them a beautiful rendition to some lady they met on the street. Thinking of crushes is a part of teenage years where one’s face is invaded with zits only to add a more challenging world in courting. What can be more interesting is the fact that there is always a way to compensate for somebody’s shortcomings – and no other act can compete with writing a good letter; and the bully boys had figured that out well. It even made me more convinced of the power of words, how it can blur any imperfection and create an alluring persona to adore. Apparently, it is the words that transform man – too good to be a tool for inveigling.

Now, letter writing is becoming extinct as the Gen-X succumbed to practically new adventures that technology is offering. The age of text and twitter may all be good at one point creating an avenue for social networking yet miss the point of “sentimentality.” Its social cohesion shapes not just how the people behave but also fashions an easy way to start off with relationships. And unlike letters which are done laboriously and are mostly consulted before venturing into the receiver’s hand, this savvy age lost the very essence of proximity as perfect ingredients to pursue a long working relationship. The danger is even greater now that emotions are becoming unruly and are hardly validated like a water vapor that exists in reality but not tangible to human touch.

Although I have not been raised in the days of letters, I know then that the words they expressed, regardless of its authenticity, can all be validated by the receiver. After all letters are easily tracked back to where it comes from. I admit that it will never be gone for our age given the existence of cyber mails or emails (mostly are too formal or plain notifications), yet the question of content’s intention will all be at stake. I am not saying that this technology doesn’t work for relationships, what I am trying to point out is the danger that lurks behind. Can you imagine how many broken hymens SMS have caused by deceit? Those are all possible in texting. Yet, unlike text messages that easily forgotten once the SIM is blocked or the phone is lost, letters, which are fashioned delicately by human hands, may be kept under the pillow, lovingly regarded and truly felt by the lover. Alas, that day is fading.

Photo Credit: Sara Remington

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Categories: education, letters, philosophy
  1. August 13, 2009 at 5:13 am

    Rosseau’s Romanticism comes to mind Igsoon. Maybe, you are re-ushering the period. Yes, even in your own less gargantuan ways. I had a debate in one site, from one royal blogger from Australia, trying to really pummel down his arguments being on the side of the current literalism that the information culture is so enslaved information itself becomes more toxic to the human mind and emotions rather than a source of human upliftment. I guess this is the kind of sentimentality that you are talking about, and with SMS where messages are abusively truncated, it goes beyond stripping sentimentality of its rightful place in human communication, but of defying, torturing the potential for aesthetic exchange. The Cartesian legacy, picked up by science, is largely to be blamed. It is not only invading drug laboratories but more dangerously, the arena of human communication now picked up by blogging to get closer to our ground. There is so much literalism, the absence of metaphoric thinking, the symbolic musing because blogging for example is meant for public consensus, less deep to be understandable, more literal to gain public approval. But even the effort of deciphering symbols in a writing, this to me is part of the joy of reading and thinking. I could write more. Later na lang. By the way – has anybody written Maam Velez one long, love letter that melts her heart and thought twice about marriage? Haha – just a little curiosity…

    • TóTómel
      August 13, 2009 at 8:45 am

      please put his site on this comment igsoon so i could also read his arguments . i am all eager to learn, you know.hehehe

      i am not trying to go back to classical epoch and to pin down whatever technology has accomplished. it was some sort of nostalgia brother and just musing on the days when i would write letters for my classmates. BUT what you written here is simply interesting igsoon: …SMS where messages are abusively truncated, it goes beyond stripping sentimentality of its rightful place in human communication, but of defying, torturing the potential for aesthetic exchange. i couldnt argue more with you for you have captured the quirks of styles in the new age. And regarding what you said about blogging means so much to me. There is always the temptation to go plainer to create traffic on your site, but blogging is not just a common tab for public amusement but also an arena of learning and interaction. I guess that’s what you are talking about blogging philosophy.hehehe

      as to miss velez, i guess there was one though i am not sure if it was an indian or scandinavian.hehehe…Care to write her Igsoon?hahaha

      • August 13, 2009 at 9:05 am

        I agree, there’s no turning back to Rosseau’s monopoly, and i don’t mean to entirely deconstruct the Cartesian legacy that ushered the literalism of our age because i remain grateful for its grandchild that is modern science. I guess in our age of conversation, where topics could be as motley as the species of butterflies, i can only think of the word BALANCE and COMPROMISE. At times, i respond to the inner angst to simply write for creativity sake, for honoring the energy within, instead of writing for an imagined band of readers. Now and then, i make compromise between depth and news bitz, between honoring the inner world and acknowledging the social milieu, or mix both, between silence and rhetoric, between science and narratives.
        Madala pa kahag atik-atik si Maam Velez hahaha?

        • TóTómel
          August 14, 2009 at 2:25 am

          how about blogging as vocation igsoon? hehehe
          *****
          “Madala pa kahag atik-atik si Maam Velez hahaha?”

          we will know the answer afterward. Your write her first.hehehe

          • August 14, 2009 at 5:43 am

            Blogging as vocation? Hmmm. Sounds a great idea…Caritas in veritate says all attempts of human development must contain some transcendent dimension…

            Hahahaha – unsa pud kaha akong isulat hahaha…Ang among mga kaniadto, ang atong mga nakutaw nga mga utok hahahaha….

            • TóTómel
              August 14, 2009 at 7:53 am

              hmmm…kind a letter of admiration.bwahahahah

  2. August 13, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Igsoon, hehe, parang na akismet yata comment ko ah…

    • TóTómel
      August 13, 2009 at 8:47 am

      hahaha…still on mano-mano igsoon. Askimet wouldn’t block such an intellectual comment from you…otherwise, ANDAMAN NYA LANG.hehehe

  3. August 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    grabeh nosebleed sa vocabulary promise! Excellent structures of sentences at ang buong entry grabeh well-written (uhm it’s even an understatement).. prolific writer indeed..

    • TóTómel
      August 17, 2009 at 12:59 am

      masyado mong pinatabe and puso ko Miel…pero salamat.hehehe

      • August 24, 2009 at 8:49 am

        yup sincere compliments yan kaya i have to breathe deep before i read a new entry here kasi di kaya ng mediocre na utak ko hehe

  4. August 27, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    ” letters, which are fashioned delicately by human hands, may be kept under the pillow, lovingly regarded and truly felt by the lover…”

    Ah letters… this is painful… I onced exchanged letters with a girl for more than a year, twice or three times a week…

    I still have the letters. Those were the only ones that were left to me… It is still hard to let go…..

    • TóTómel
      September 4, 2009 at 1:28 am

      how sad to hear this Mark…..

  5. August 28, 2009 at 2:54 am

    o my gudnis, pengeng tissue, dumudugo ilong ko, 1st time ko dito pero ito ang ginawa mo… hindi ko naiintindihan yung ibang words… huhuhu…

    pero alam mo napanood ko sa tv ung mga ganyang letters na hindi nakarating sa sender… Jessica Soho yata yun…

    ganda…

    • TóTómel
      September 4, 2009 at 1:28 am

      ikaw talaga oh….hehehe

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