“A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.” —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
We tweet and snap pictures that only last ten seconds. We comment and share and like posts. But I’m not sure we remember how to write real letters. I’m also not sure Jane Austen had the opportunity to write a letter without having to send it — releasing words so as not to have to feel them inside anymore.
I have always been fond of handwriting letters with a favorite pen and a nice piece of blank paper just waiting to be filled. Maybe amidst this Millennial Generation this seems strange, but the thrill of receiving mail feels almost as great as sending it away to someone else. I don’t think email gives the same kind of effervescence that leaving a letter in a mailbox does.
When I found the Lettrs app on a list of best apps, I was drawn to the prospect of writing and reading letters. Leading up to this point, I’ve sent more letters than I can remember and have written even more that I never sent. Here was a place that offered a bridge between the lost art of letter writing and social media.
I think of the letters Jane Austen and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy might write if they too had the Lettrs app. Would Jane speak about the struggles of writing? Would Elizabeth discuss the new film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in a letter written as an adoring fangirl? Would Mr. Darcy leave a colloquial collection of “I love you’s” and “I’m sorry’s” or write something just as beautiful as the words we’ve come to know from Pride and Prejudice?
While there would be no wax seal to close up these characters’ words, there would be a spot to sign their name and pick a stamp before sending it away. Maybe they would scroll through their fridge and read their words and feel like they’d said something important. I’m not sure they would feel completely pulled out of time because the website owner, Drew Bartkiewicz, has made sure that Lettrs feels like an authentic letter writing experience.
Maybe thinking about fictional characters writing fictional letters seems nonsensical. Lettrs, however, always feels real. There is something that happens in the sharing of these letters. I think you’ll find that people understand. I think you’ll read another letter and discover that someone feels the same way you do. And, just like the effervescent feeling that comes from sending a real letter, you’ll feel the same way reading others’.
Lettrs boasts that they are “the authentic social platform that allows you to express yourself in more meaningful and genuine ways through the use of letter writing elements such as fonts, themes, stamps, and signatures.”
We are a society that shares everything, and at times I think we’ve become a society of oversharing. There is something about letter writing that we’ve lost, though, and I hope we can reclaim it. Whether you’re sitting with pens and paper or visiting lettrs.com, may your pen be mightier so that we can be the society that rediscovers this lost art.