I've been thinking a lot about letter writing. (Now that email is over, will letter-writing come back?) I found this post from April 2015 by someone named Ingrid celebrating children's books about letter-writing through a search for Books of Wonder. (I took Wally to that lovely children's bookstore yesterday to pick out his September Book-of-the-Month, an annual holiday gift from my parents. I was worried because the store felt kind of big and empty and the cafe that once flourished there was gone, now a storage space.)
It's weird to me to think how my college friends and I wrote copious letters to each other, even though we all had email. I have a box full of our letters, which tapered off around 1999/2000.
Emails, as Sarah of One Blue Sail wrote in one of the comments, felt like a replacement for letters, faster, of course, but the same idea, a long, thoughtful means of communicating with one other person.
Then our Inboxes exploded, with marketing, spam, charities, campaigns, mass emails. Too much.
It makes sense, given the Inbox overload, that we're searching for something else. The current mode - text/snapchat/FB - the bite-size, constant interruptions (though young people don't consider them interruptions, MIT professor Sherry Turkle points out in Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age (Penguin Press, October 2015) - doesn't seem like a replacement for letter writing, phone calls or email.
What is the replacement for sustained, one-to-one communication?
Even now, I'm batting my kids away so I can write. There is always this struggle. I may be the worst offender for the bite-size, broken up days.
The Jolly Postman was one of my all-time favorites.