Now, I'll get to the topic that led to the title of this post, which is the subject of letter writing....the lost art of correspondence. It's something that's been on my mind a lot the last couple of weeks, since I began reading As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child & Avis DeVoto which has me enthralled. I picked the book up casually to glance through it at the small community library where I began a very part-time job some weeks ago. I was transfixed, not only by the actual correspondence between these two women, but by the sheer fact that the chance beginning of the letters that went back and forth shaped history. I won't go into the story, which you can read about by following the link. What I find fascinating is to know that this somewhat chance encounter that led to a deep, abiding friendship, at first through letters, was instrumental in creating Julia Child as a household name through the country. It's also quite interesting to be reminded, in many ways, that for all the changes in the world, well, much remains the same.....reading about the political climate in the 1950s from those living through it feels something like looking at our times through a fun-house mirror!
But just beneath the level of fascination, I felt an immense emptiness as I pondered the fact that we no longer write actual letters....there is no paper trail, to be saved and archived, that tells the story of our days, the history of our lives and how the events of the twenty-first century are slowly transforming us. And also, to be sure, how we play a part in the course of history, as we live out our lives day to day. Where will the future historians turn for the "stuff" that tells the story, the daily lives and the relationships of men and women everywhere? We are certainly quick to write an e-mail, but we are in a hurry and we don't elaborate. And will we save them as we once did letters? Texting....I haven't gone there yet and don't plan to....I still prefer to speak in sentences....or at least, sentence fragments! Is it the blogs, certainly a source of material....but will they last? I lament the loss of true correspondence--the thoughtful paragraphs, expounding on ideas, events, joys and sorrows....the materiality of paper and pen or typewritten text. We don't have the time for it and surely we can't stand the thought of waiting for days for the letter to be received and even longer for the response to be returned to us....unbearable lengths of time!
And so. I'm reminded of the notion of writing and how it has cropped up in my own work, often in the form of something illegible that only points to handwriting, as in these snippets from a piece in progress.
I'm interested now in investigating more letters, that is, reading more correspondence....what a fascinating way to read history....it's the next best thing to being there. But I'm now ready for my own work to go farther and not just point to writing but actually incorporate the text...we'll see where this leads.
The other piece to this story is the notion that we are all historians and I think that is the underlying sentiment behind the daily drawings....a documentation of the day. This day, I lived, I made this little drawing in commemoration of all the pleasures and frustrations of the fleeting moments in my small corner of the universe. Even that is not enough...
March 6, 2012
March 5, 2012
March 4, 2012
March 3, 2012
March 2, 2012
March 1, 2012
February 29, 2012
These are the drawings since I last posted them....please visit MissouriBendMusings to see more views and the rest dating back to mid-January! And do keep an eye out, for the unfolding of days....and do pay attention to the moments of your life....they are your history and just as importantly, they are part of the history of those in your ever expanding circle of relationships. Thanks so much for being part of my circle!