Two years ago, I was sitting in my room thinking about what to do. Basically, I was really bored. I wasn’t willing to turn on the TV or browse through the internet. I wanted a change in my life that would hold certain, something that would keep me occupied, invested, committed, interested and hungry for more.
As a kid, I was always deeply passionate about learning as much as I could through the words and written documents of Anne Frank. I would spend hours reading biographies, books and stories about who she was and what she was like. And so, it was on one of those days of searching for Anne Frank that I learned about her pen pal from America. She and her older sister used to write to two other sisters in the US before they were both forced to go into hiding. It was from this small piece of knowledge in which my boredom slowly started to seep away.
My generation had long surpassed the age of letter writing and opted for the more effective penmanship of emailing. But I wanted something different. I wanted to learn about another person from a different country, hear their mysterious voice echo through my ears as they told me stories about who they were, how they lived and the life they had in some far off land. I created an account on a secure pen pal website I found and made myself a profile. Soon enough, someone else just like me was interested in getting to know who I was and wanted to exchange letters, not emails. Thus began our journey.
My pen pal from Germany and I have been writing letters to each other for the past two years and I can honestly say, the stack of letters from her that I have so dearly kept at my bedside are one of the few items I would save from a fire if my house was burning down this very moment! Her words of wisdom mean more to me than my laptop, her ominous voice and her masked face are a mystery that I am more willing to save and cherish than my Facebook profile. I trust her because I read her handwriting and confide in her because I know she is a real person. I think thats the kind of magic a letter possess…although it is simply a physical object, it holds a very emotional and spiritual responsibility to the person receiving it. If there was one random piece of advice I could give to society, it would be to keep the art of letter writing alive. It is mankind’s first mark of social networking and deserves to stay bubbling in our technologically advanced world of the 21st Century.
I think an impending issue in todays world that effects everyone is privacy. It doesn’t matter if you are a celebrity or an average person, your privacy can easily be lost or taken advantage of any time. With social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, more people seem to be leaving their personal feelings and thoughts on the internet, confiding to there “followers” on their network about some of the most personal things in their lives. Find a friend you can trust. Talk to them face to face. Or write a letter to a friend. Seal it in an envelope, place a stamp on it and send it away down the street to your best friends house or to a trusted companion across the state. Avoid exchanging Facebook friend requests or Twitter accounts about your pen pal and just learn about that person on a more intimate level through hand written notes. If you think that sounds too risky, then why does it seem easier to write a quick little status about your feelings on the internet for millions of people to read? Letters. They need to find a budding placement in this world once again. I’m afraid of loosing them for good.
– The Paintress