I 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