Magic of a Writing Hand – Part One

Hand with pen, copyright 2011 by Alicja Mann

I pulled a creamy envelope from the mailbox with excitement when I saw my name and address written by hand in black ink. A nice feeling of anticipation enveloped me. “Looks like somebody wrote me a letter,” I thought and ripped the envelope impatiently with my index finger. Two printed sheets of white paper fell out of the envelope and landed on the floor. I picked them up and quickly learned it was not a personal letter, but advertising from a local company. I felt disappointed and somewhat cheated. So I tore the envelope into small pieces and threw it into the trash.

“You are so gullible,” I scolded myself, understanding that I had been fooled by clever marketing people who know how attractive it is for anyone to see a hand addressed envelope waiting patiently in the mailbox. That “personal touch” of marketers is pretty well known and used to ensure that the envelope will be opened. “Oh well,” I thought, “not the first time and not the last one!” Still, I was bothered by it and I tried to define why.

It is really pretty simple — postcards or letters written by hand are very special, particularly in today’s rushed world, a world in which we are preoccupied with the Internet, social networking, and mobile phones’ amazing capabilities. We do not have time, or take time, for writing personal letters or colorful post cards while traveling. Why to bother when one can write an e-mail, attach some photos and send them directly and instantaneously? No paper, no ink, no stamp, and not much time consumed. Better yet, one can send the same e-mail to many friends at once. Yes, it is very efficient! Yet, the charm of a note written by hand is indisputable for me. It is slower — much, much slower — but such a card or letter represents a lot more.

Collage of correspondence

For me seeing someone’s familiar handwriting evokes a warm emotion, as if that hand is touching my hand. I imagine that person choosing the card in some local gift shop or pharmacy, later sitting at the table, desk, or nightstand, and writing by hand. Addressing it carefully, so there are no mistakes, is very important. Postcards usually do not have space for a return address. When they are lost, they are lost for good! Placing a stamp and smoothing its surface with the tip of the hand gives the card an extra touch. Finally it is ready to be mailed and to start its travel to the destination point. Sometimes the distance is short, but it’s often long. The recipient can imagine the journey each time a new card arrives.

Being very sentimental, I have been keeping many special letters and cards in a protected place. Today I looked at them as if they were little pieces of art. Actually they are! Many contain memories and touches of people who are no longer among us and those pieces are becoming even more precious.

Collage of correspondence

Each card or letter is unique — the strokes of the pen are fixed on the page at the moment of writing. The grey, transitory e-mailed words shimmering on the computer screen do not hold a candle to the handwritten words arriving in my mailbox. But they arrive very seldom… I also send them very seldom….

Today however, I decided to write a few colorful postcards and send them to some friends in faraway places. Maybe you will too.

P.S. Just in case you would like to send me a postcard, my current mailing address is:

Alicja Mann
P.O. Box 32855
Tucson, AZ 85751
U.S.A.

* * *

Text and photos copyright © 2011 by Alicja Mann.

Explore posts in the same categories: Essays, Feelings, Memories, Opinions, Photo stories, Writing

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One Comment on “Magic of a Writing Hand – Part One”

  1. Marina Says:

    I love what you have to say here, Alicja. And what I have always thought is so great about you is that not only do you have such sensibilities, but that you live in accordance with them. If some day, all charm is gone from the world, it will not be because of lack of effort on the part of Alicja Mann! You LIVE your values and aesthetics. It’s amazing how rare that is. You truly are a beautiful human being.


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