Handwritten notes are making a comeback, at least in my life.
They are lovely to read. Mostly they are Thank You notes, but sometimes, they say
“I miss you.”
“I’m so glad we’ve connected.”
“I’m thinking of you at this time.”
I love receiving them and I generally read them a few times. Who wouldn’t like reading such things? I feel a connection to the writer that I’d not otherwise feel and I enjoy the feel of something tangible in my hand.
That’s not the curse I’m talking about.
The curse comes with the realization that, now that I’ve enjoyed the note, gleaned its message, I have to do something with it.
I can’t just throw it away.
I’m used to getting various handwritten notes and letters from my kids and grandkids. What grandmother isn’t? Those I pop into a drawer next to my bed in the gleeful expectation that someday they will get to go through them all and one of them (at least) will write a book, like I’m doing now with the notes my grandmother saved.
It’s not those notes I’m talking about. It’s the notes and cards from “regular folk.” People I like, people I feel connected to in an authentic way (and certainly after their card arrives). But people who don’t quite warrant that spot in the special drawer.
For some, I sit down and write them a note in return. But what about the Thank You notes? I might say, “Thank you for your lovely Thank You note. It was a treat to receive.”
With my luck, they’d feel compelled to thank me for my thank you note . . . and on we would continue. You see the danger.
The curse of the handwritten note is simple: I don’t know what to do with them.
I have no model or tradition to follow, no clue as to what to do. Someone spent good energy and not a little time composing this note specifically to me. Sometimes very elegant stationery is involved.
It was not part of some mass mailing. No, this note was meant for me. They thought of me as they wrote it. And it feels rude to throw it away, even tossing it into the recycle bin feels insulting. Besides, the problem is growing.
Is there a new fad afoot, a Luddite backlash, perhaps? If so, it may be a result of this booklet, “The Art of the Handwritten Note,” written by …
… Margaret Shepherd and sold through the Anthropologie catalogue. Doesn’t she know the problem this is creating?
In the wider scheme of things, this is a lovely problem to have, I’ll admit. It’s definitely a “First World Problem,” as it were. Still, I live in the First World and it is currently a curse of heretofore unexpected proportions. Nevermind Christmas cards!
How about you? Have you seen an increase in handwritten notes? More importantly, what do you do with them?
HEADS UP: Sunday, February 11 is my Sunday Spotlight on the Facebook group, We Love Memoirs. I hope you’ll pop in and say hello. This will be my third Spotlight since my book came out in 2014 and this year I hope to add a few surprises. The link to join this closed group is on the right sidebar, just scroll a little bit up.