Letter Writing – Alive or Dead?

 According to a recent article in Newsweek, the art of penmanship has a new slant today. Most Americans rarely, if ever, craft a handwritten letter, especially when they have access to other modalities of communication, such as email, Twitter, Facebook, and My Space.   I even advocate to my students that they don’t have to send the letters they write in their journals if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. So  what often ends up happening, is that the only people who might be fortunate enough to receive “snail mail” letters are those without Internet access.  In fact that’s how I communicate with my seventy-nine year old mother. Although she is somewhat computer literate—she works in a hospital twice a week performing data entry—she refuses to incorporate a computer into her personal life.


Those who study handwriting believe that the art of handwriting can be thought of as a form of individual expression, which offers cues to our personality traits. The question is, what will happen to the predictions gathered from handwriting analysis, if current trends continue and keyboarding replaces learning cursive in elementary schools across the country?


Personally, I much prefer writing a thank you note by hand over sending it via email. The former is more time-consuming, particularly when you consider writing the letter, addressing the envelope and figuring out what is the current postage. But, I glean a great deal of personal satisfaction from this old-fashioned ritual. Feeling the power of the pen, and seeing the loops and swirls of ink on the paper, like on the pages of my journal, can make me feel quite a sense of accomplishment.

What do you think?



1 Response to “Letter Writing – Alive or Dead?”

  1. 1 stuarx February 27, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Diana, I am with you 100%. I became a member of the cyber generation “late in life” that was in december of 1998! To this day all sentiments of gratitude, birthday, and holiday greetings are in my own handwriting, and prefer the same in return. Stuey

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Quote of the Week

"A writer uses a journal to try out the new step in front of the mirror."

~Mary Gordon

About Me

I am a memoirist, essayist, poet and teacher whose passion is keeping a notebook. My notebook is my muse and my alter ego. It contains personal snippets of my life and observations from the world around me. Diarist Anaïs Nin has been a great source of inspiration for me. My hobbies include writing, writing and more writing, but when I have extra time, I enjoy reading, walking, hiking, yoga, working out, cooking and hanging out with my family and Maltese Poodle, Spunky. In order not to become ensconced by the glare of my computer screen, I also teach in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and in various conferences and festivals around the country. My pleasure comes from sharing my joy of journaling with professional writers and anyone interested in writing.

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