Wednesday, 16 November 2016

dead letter office or dashing off to the post

Listening to an editor bemoaning the lost art of correspondence whilst trying to turn his readership’s interest to the epistolary novel—or rather the collected letters of a particular personality, I agreed that there’d be little merit in or love for a compendium of tweets or the bulk of emails—although there’s plenty of room for sentiment and composure there that I imagine has as much to do with legacy as the fact that one’s retrospective isn’t immediately served up with each engagement.
I did, however, find myself contending the assertion that the letter is wholly unassailable. Not because there are notable exceptions in our untaxing communications landscape since it’s always a personal choice whether or not to devote more or less energy in sharing a story, but rather due to another format for whom the rumours of death are at least slightly premature strikes me as proof that the art form is not yet moribund, and I’m given to wonder if the lowly blog isn’t somehow the successor to sending out missives. Not quite journalism and not quite a diary, maybe this hybrid, a bit abused and sometimes the subject of ridicule for being outmoded and without the audience shares of other social media, is letter writing transmogrified. The updates and outreach of that the retired format is of course not the exclusive reserve of blogging but I think that maybe the notion behind crafting something—hopefully thoughtful and worthwhile for both author and audience—well compliments the deferred satisfaction of reaching across time in penning a letter, even one that goes undelivered.