Letter Writing a Lost Art

When was the last time you wrote a personal letter to someone?  Now, I realize we all use and abuse e-mail, but how about a genuine, heartfelt handwritten letter in which you poured out your innermost thoughts and emotions?

Sadly, I bet there’s a great segment of our population, especially among the young, who have never written a letter, except maybe a “Dear John” here and there.  (I once got one of those in the form of a poem.  I should’ve kept it.)

I bring this up because letter writing is one of the greatest proven techniques for mastering a language, certainly the English language.  I still remember the advice I got when I first started out in the writing trade:  “Pretend like you’re writing a letter to a friend.”  In other words, relax and be yourself and be honest.  The words flow better that way.

Now, don’t get me started on e-mail.  What an abomination most e-mails are.  Many are more like cave drawings or inscriptions than actual writing, closer to tagging than thinking.

But try writing a sincere letter to a friend, and you’ll see what I mean.

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