National Literacy Month: Take the Challenge; Write a Letter

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"A letter is a blessing, a great and all-too-rare privilege that can turn a private moment into an exalted experience." Alexandra Stoddard

“A letter is a blessing, a great and all-too-rare privilege that can turn a private moment into an exalted experience.” Alexandra Stoddard

September is recognized as National Literacy Month. What better time to talk about the power of the written word. From famous quotes, classic novels, poems and important documents the written word preserves creativity, history and progress. I’m a lover of words and quotes. I even share my favorite words in a monthly article, Sharing Words with Friends on Ann Quasman’s site at www.WomanTalkLive. Today’s post is framed around two of my favorite quotes about writing.

I’ll begin with one that reaches deep into my soul every time I read it. It is by Anne Michaels, author of Fugitive Pieces.

Write to save yourself and someday you will write because you’ve been saved.

This quote tells my story in just thirteen words! During my years in therapy I journaled my thoughts, memories, fears, triumphs and depths of despair; I wrote to save myself. If you read the chapter in Say It Out Loud on Journaling you will fully understand the impact writing had on my healing journey. Once I decided to share my story I wrote Say It Out Loud; I wrote  because I had been saved

Keeping a journal is wonderful advise for anyone. Oprah suggested keeping a gratitude journal, writing what you are thankful for each day. Others journal about their personal struggles, everyday experiences or steps towards obtaining goals. The possibilities for journaling are endless and the rewards great. Who knows, maybe someday your journals will inspire you to write a book!

A second favorite quote is by the famous poet Lord Byron.

Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.

I love this quote because it is about the lost art of writing letters. I’ll add that I’ve decided–not sure Lord Byron agrees–that the “good company” is the person you are writing to. If you are more than 30 years old you probably remember the twinge of joy you felt when the mailman delivered an envelope with your name on it. Receiving a text message or email doesn’t compare to the genuine heart skips a beat feeling of seeing that envelop. Checking the return address, feeling the stationary, and sometimes, if it was from someone really special, seeing the “SWAK” across the seal. (That’s sealed with a kiss for you young ones.) When I was young my grandfather, whom I adored, went on vacation each winter to California. I would wait for the mailman everyday to see if he sent me a postcard–another lost art. Occasionally I come across one that I saved. Seeing my grandfather’s handwriting makes me feel like he’s still a part of my life.

What about love letters? I know I’m not the only one who has every letter my husband, then boyfriend, wrote tucked away in a special place. Rereading them brings back such tender memories.

Hand written notes, whether they are thank-you notes or thinking of you notes, are also becoming passé and yet they make the recipient feel special and cared for. In my book there’s a picture of a note from my cousin during a very difficult time in my journey. It simply says Consider this note a hug! You can imagine how comforted I felt as I read, and reread, that note.

During National Literacy Month, I challenge you to write a note or letter to at least one special person in your life. Maybe you’ll even get a letter in return. Let’s revive the art of writing to communicate or share our feelings. I think you will enjoy the experience! Be sure to let me know if you get a response. Roberta

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