Thankful Thursday: Why I Write Letters

It's the gentle gesture that draws me, the curve of letters, the slope of a signature, the cross-out in mid-thought. I like letters, the way they slow time to invite reflection for both writer and reader. Letters are tender reminders that feeling is first, just as e.e cummings says.

To celebrate National Handwriting Day on January 23, a friend who owns a wine shop is giving a free glass of wine to anyone who writes her a letter, postcard or note.

Writer and reader share a special language through letters. In each envelope, we seal a message that says, I look for you in these pages, and see my own reflection too.

"In a letter," writes Anne Carson in The Beauty of the Husband, "both reader and writer discover an ideal image of themselves, short blinding passages are all it takes."

Some of my most satisfying writing is rooted in letters. In these of-the-moment conversations, nothing is planned, prepared or overthought.

"The world is full of paper," says Agha Shahid Ali, "Write to me."


Gratitude. Praise. Appreciation. Please join me in Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to express appreciation for people, places, things, and more. What are you thankful for today?