Sunday, September 14, 2008

Traditional Letter Writing

Author's Note: I have decided to rehash this post as a Spin Cycle Post. Be sure to check out other Traditions at Spin Cycle by Sprite's Keeper.

One semester in college I was fortunate enough to have a schedule in which I was done with my classes by Thursday at noon (I did have one class on Friday, but it did not require any homework). Because of this, I could finish my homework before the weekend began. The only unfortunate thing about this schedule is that when Sunday evening rolled around, everybody I knew was doing their homework. Rather than getting lazy and blowing off my homework till Sunday, I chose to write letters instead. What I found when I was writing my letters is that I have a lot of traditions that I always use when writing.

Hand written or typed:
What I found is that I type faster than I write. So, if you get a hand written letter from me it is thus considered more personal than a typed one— mostly because it takes more time to write. Also, with a hand written letter I cannot correct my mistakes as easily as with type written letters. Using that same logic, you could say that an e-mail letter is even less personal because I can easily delete something and there would not be any evidence of my edits.
It used to be clear cut in that if I had a salutation before your name— "Dear Name,"… then it was less personal than if I only had your name— "Name,". However, this only applies to written letters. For e-mail, it depends on if the message is going to a group of people in which case it would not have any salutation at all.
Close line:
I typically have a closing line or sentence which indicates that the letter is ending. My best one is one that I used in undergraduate school which is the following: "Looks like this could be the end… so be sure to tune in next time (same bat-time, same bat channel) for more exciting adventures of… Undergrad!!!" Many other times I just say "Be good and take care" instead.
For my personal letters I use a poem that I wrote which I try to relate to the overall mood of the letter. Sometimes the poem is only a one line quote, while other times it is a several line poem. When I typed my letters I tried to center the overall poem on the page which is when you look at my poetry originals you will see a number which was used to center the poem on the stationery that I used. Also, if you look at a typed or hand-written letter you will see that I use my trademark (C over J) followed by the year the poem was written to sign the poem.
Personal letters will typically have "With love," while more serious letters skip that part and only have my name. However, with casual e-mails I will typically use just my name ":-Chris" since it does not really require a formal signature.
If I hand-write a letter, or even sign a card, I will use the same ink (or pencil) to seal the envelope with my trademark. Even if I type a letter, I will seal the envelope with my trademark. I used to use red ink when signing a card, but nowadays I never have one handy, so that tradition is less strict.

Even though I have progressed from Hand-written, to Typed, to E-mail— I am glad that I still hold on to many of my traditions, otherwise my letters may not have as much personality as I would like.

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