I turned on the TV the other evening and found myself watching a bit of Dear John, not hard I know, that bloody film is always on the TV. I have to be honest, it isn’t a great film, Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried couldn’t possibly have any less chemistry. But it’s the story that get’s me. Not so much the war stuff, but the way in which the couple fall in love and face each struggle through their letters. It reinforces everything I have always believed and studied, and proves the power and beauty of the written word. It saddens me how the written word is seemingly less and less important to youngsters of today, when I recollect how I would spend hours perfecting my calligraphy and writing out stories to make sure they were just right. It makes me shudder to think how so many kids struggle to write now because they are so used to typing and auto-correct.
I just love the idea of all these old-fashioned ways of keeping in contact and expressing love and emotion on the page. It is just so much more raw and real than hiding behind a screen (which as a blogger, I am as guilty of as the next person!). I love to look at people’s handwriting, to see where the emotion caught in their hand as they tell you they love you, or how the letters seem to bounce off the page when someone is expressing good news. Even a tear-stained and ink-smudged page is beautiful in the sadness it conveys – so much better than a blank white screen with Times New Roman dotted across it. It just makes me so sad to think that the next generation will barely even use their hands to write, they will type everything from emails to birthday cards. There is nothing more lovely than receiving a card from a long-lost friend or lover, if unexpected it is even lovelier. To see the handwriting on the page and know that thought went into this, it was not merely rapped on on a computer in seconds and sent without a second thought.
I used to work in a card shop, and as a result of spending so much time around greetings cards, I really have found it has made me put so much effort into finding the perfect card for someone and writing a really heartfelt message to someone for whatever the occasion. I remember when I first went to university and my best friend had taken the time to write me, not only a good luck card, but she had written a loooong letter for me to open when I felt homesick. I opened it as soon as I arrived and ended up in tears because everything she had written was so thoughtful and amazing – it was just the boost I needed and a text or Facebook message would not have had the same effect. Likewise, my boyfriend really understands how much I love a special card and message and he spends ages choosing the perfect one to make me laugh or smile. He writes beautiful messages, always short but very sweet, in his terrible scrawl across the card, but I love it so much because it is so personal, and I have kept every one since he started giving them to me.
It is so important to remember the power of the written word, particularly in telling the ones we love how we feel. A handwritten note hidden in someone’s lunch, jacket pocket or bed can really make their day when they find it. Writing a letter to your best friend or sister in their birthday card can make them smile a million times brighter than some silly present. It’s the things that don’t cost anything at all that always have the greatest value, and it’s these things that we keep with us throughout our lives to remind us of beautiful friends and moments.