Kids help inspire me to strive toward this ‘method’ of teaching both myself and others.I read something recently that Elizabeth Gilbert shared about how her husband—whose first language is not English—often will say, “If you explain it to me slowly, I’ll understand quickly.” I love this.Wendy Mass confronts screen culture head on: An email from my grandmother would look just like an email from anyone else.
(September 2015), more than a dozen writers including Neil Gaiman, Natalie Goldberg, Jane Hirshfield, Wendy Mass, Gary Snyder, Ruth Ozeki, and others, offer their insights on the lost art of letter writing.
Each writer has something different to offer about the power of the pen, the possibility of connection, and the silly but weighty relevance of a messy process.
Writing for a younger audience slows me down and this is a practice I’m continually learning from: slowing it all down.
I can tend toward wanting to get a lot done in a short amount of time.
Writers, artists, design professionals, and educators are coming together across the country to run groups like Handwritten that partner with organizations like Letter Farms, Cursive Logic, Type Letters, The 1,000 Journals Project, and The Sketchbook Project.
All of these advocate an appreciation for handmade work, kinesthetic processes, and interactive exchanges through writing and art.But unlike playing a musical instrument, which requires financial upkeep, letter writing is in fact an equal opportunity exercise.Benke isn’t alone in her endeavors to revive the lost art.There’s also the book has resided on my bookshelf since I was an undergraduate and my first poetry instructor Gary Thompson (a student of Dick Hugo) played “mailman” during poetry workshop.We wrote letters in class to fellow students, telling them what we liked about their poems, and Gary delivered them.It’s what we’re all hungering for anyway, real connection.This lesson has been taught from my best teachers, the kids, who by their authenticity and presence have helped make my writing more honest, more playful.Not that doing things fast is bad, it’s just that sometimes it revs me up so that I miss out on the small details of life.Setting an even pace while living a writing life is crucial, I find. Kids live in the present and are great teachers for me for this.These included love letters, thank you notes, hand printed news records, creative and elaborate penned info-graphics.There’s a whole science evolving around the preservation of these things, the interpretative possibility these documents hold as clues to our past. Benke: I think letter writing is a lost art to some of us who find it easy (too easy) to fire off text messages and who rely solely on email for correspondence. We need to do it to slow us down, and return us to the present moment, where many of us are spending less and less time.