Friday, July 23, 2010

the lost art of writing letters.

I don't write very much, anymore. My life has been swallowed up by Facebook, by Twitter, by photography. By weekly breakfasts with friends and impromptu dinners with these same friends, meals where I can barely eat for laughing. There are bookclubs and plays and field trips to strawberry fields. My circle of friends has grown, split into different groups that nonetheless bump against each other and intersect, the way they do in a small town dressed as a big city, which is what Seattle is. Last year M. found me on Twitter, after 20 years apart. We had not seen each other since fourth grade. Then I found A. again, who I have not seen since we were 11 or 12 and I was visiting her grandparents one summer, in Massachusetts.

A. and I used to be pen pals. Her grandmother was a dear friend of my mother, and as I had no grandmother of my own I felt lucky to have her in my life. We wrote letters back and forth, me on a succession of girly stationery (I recall one was pale blue paper printed with a teddy bear with a heart and flowers) in my childish scrawl, and Gigi in her impeccable handwriting on cream paper. I still have some of her letters. I still remember her address. She died early last year, and I miss her, even though we did not communicate in recent years. Now I see A. often. We are grown-ups in the city of my childhood. We are friends by choice now, because we love so many of the same things and not because her grandmother is a friend of my mother.

Lately I have been writing letters to friends again, inspired in part by The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, which is a lovely epistolary novel that I read about a year and a half ago. A. and I had not met up yet, we had only been exchanging emails. M. had not yet found me on Twitter. My world was about to change, was already changing, and I didn't even know it. How lucky I feel to know these people, who I talk to every day, on Twitter, on Facebook, on the phone, at the farmer's markets, at parties and dinners and breakfasts. How lucky I feel to find a perfect card in my enormous stash of stationery, and curl up on my bed with a book for a writing desk and a pen in hand, to tell them, I love you for being here.

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