The demise of letter writing: oh, really?

As I updated the links to my blogroll yesterday, I realized how lax I have been in reading the blogs I reference. The process was slow since I read many of the recent entries in the blogs. I did my best to reference only pure blogs rather than general websites even though some of the blogs reside on big media sites.

I enjoy reading collections of letters, diaries, and journals. The element I like most about blogs is the way they often resemble letters rather than fully completed articles. Thoughts that do not arrive at closure fascinate me. In fact, I rarely can find anything to write about unless it is in reaction to what someone has written in her blog. I often do not cite the initial idea that triggered my post–another laxity on my part.

I feel a new obligation to keep current with other blogs now that I have my new blog platform. I could spend all my time blogging if I allowed myself to do it. That’s not so bad. Blogging is reading and writing. That is what I like to do best. So what if my blog becomes a set of letters? The nice thing is that they get a small public airing. It’s a more efficient way than sending emails and paper letters.

I am reading volume 2 of Hunter S. Thompson’s letters. I like them as much as anything he published. He was a master of the form. Many people have speculated on the demise of letter writing. The media has changed, but not the desire to write them. Blogging is a good example of how letter writing has actually increased rather than diminished.

I plan on writing more on this blog. For now, I’ll consider the entries letters, and try to at least make them thoughtful if not entertaining.

Published in: on September 1, 2007 at 2:02 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Lynn, nice change to WordPress. I’m still reading you.

    Oh, yes, you are right in not accepting the sentimentality of those who wring their hands that letter-writing has disappeared. It’s disguised nostalgia.

    Never in the history of mankind has so much been written by so many people to so many other people. The longing for Victorian letter-writing forgets the enormous amount of chatter, gossip, and banality of most of these letters.

    On the other hand Oscar Wilde could write dozens of letters every day and have them delivered and answered since the mail service came around 6-7 times a day – in London at least. I have often had the fantasy that Oscar was still among us, and just imagine – IMAGINE – him on a TV talk show. That would have been his ideal setting and a supreme pleasure for the rest of us.

    The problem today in our “ecstasy of communication” (Baudrillard’s phrase) is that we forget the postscript that Pascal once added in one of his missives, “Forgive me for writing such a long letter. I did not have the time to write a short one.”

  2. Orla,

    Thanks. Oscar Wilde would definitely blow away the audience. Too bad that kind of genius only comes around about once or twice a century.


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