Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Fine Art of Letter Writing

Most of those closest to me know of my utter and vehement dislike for Facebook. Unless you have nothing planned for the afternoon you shouldn't ask me if I have a Facebook page.
I have many, many good reasons for shunning this newest form of "socializing" but at the top of that list is the fact that it has changed the face of true, deep and honest friendship and the form of communication that occurs between friends and acquaintances. For that matter Facebook doesn't even differentiate between true friends and acquaintances, oops, you almost got me started!

I am a true lover of the letter and the written word (on paper, can you guess where this is going?). When a good friend came to spend a few days at the farm she mentioned a poem called Elegy for the Personal letter. After reading this mournful poem I felt that it conveyed all of my passion for the letter with my soapboxing.

To help you make the transition from half-hearted, half-sentence, virtual "friend"-rich, relationship-poor, non-conversations back to the elegant, thoughtful art of letter writing we are proud to announce our newest section in the The Farm Shop, The tools of Writing. We now carry many beautiful card sets with fountains pens and a wide selection of scented inks on the way.

Elegy for the Personal Letter

by Allison Joseph
I miss the rumpled corners of correspondence,
the ink blots and crossouts that show

someone lives on the other end, a person
whose hands make errors, leave traces.
I miss fine stationary, its raised elegant
lettering prominent on creamy shades of ivory
or pearl grey. I even miss hasty notes
dashed off on notebook paper, edges
ragged as their scribbled messages—
can’t much write now—thinking of you.

When letters come now, they are formatted
by some distant computer, addressed
to Occupant or To the family living at
meager greetings at best,
salutations made by committee.
Among the glossy catalogs
and one time only offers
the bills and invoices,
letters arrive so rarely now that I drop
all other mail to the floor when
an envelope arrives and the handwriting

is actual handwriting, the return address
somewhere I can locate on any map.
So seldom is it that letters come
That I stop everything else
to identify the scrawl that has come this far—
the twist and the whirl of the letters,
the loops of the numerals. I open
those envelopes first, forgetting
the claim of any other mail,
hoping for news I could not read in any other way but this.

PS Teach your children to write before they can type. It will serve them well. These three letters came in the mail for my daughter when she was under the weather.


  1. Yes!!! I love this. Thank you for posting on such a great topic. Your wonderful store is rooted in what was meant to be... what food, cooking, and even clothing ourselves is supposed to be like. And now, you're using a corner of your store to bring us back to what we used to be in relationships, as well. Thank you for all you do.

  2. Hi Jeanette,
    Thanks so much for your comment. You might want to take another look at the blog since I didn't have a chance to get the pictures up until this morning. You may recognize the photo at the bottom of the page.

  3. Haha! I hope those letters brightened her sick day! I figured, if we're willing to share our germs, we should be willing to send a letter! The girls will be thrilled.

  4. I LOVED this. My grandparents, who are 96 & 97 love to get a letter in the mail and we treasure those trips to the mailbox. You are so right that Facebook and the internet have really decreased those beautiful letters in the mail.

  5. I recently purchased a cow from a Mennonite friend and I had to jot a quick note to him asking him to keep the girl for me and I really enjoyed just scribbling a few words on a nice piece of paper and running it to the mail box. It was just a slight tweak from the big event of sitting down with fountain pen in hand to compose a long letter. Try it, it made the day slow down a bit.