A few blogs ago, I talked about the importance of reading. I also briefly touched on the importance of writing. When is the last time you wrote a letter to someone? An actual handwritten letter? I'm assuming it was a long time ago, right? Besides your name, when was the last time you wrote something in cursive? Do people even now what cursive is anymore? (Cursive actually sounds more like a passage that is written with an immense amount of curse words... it's not though!) The new age of technology that we all live in, be it great at times, has often made certain activities of the past completely obsolete. One of these activities is writing. Writing has always been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. This past week, I've grown to appreciate it more and more.
On Wednesday last week, I was invited to a very lovely "literary salon" entitled Women of Letters. This event is held at Joe's Pub every first Wednesday of the month. Basically, it is a bunch of amazing women (some National and International best-selling authors), who get together and read letters that they write on a particular subject. The subject of this month was 'a letter to my elephant in the room'. I must say after hearing each of the 7 ladies (6 speakers + the host) get up there and read the letters they wrote, I was absolutely amazed and inspired! Every single one of their writings was so relatable and thought-provoking, and might I add, BEAUTIFULLY articulated! The events aren't recorded or videotaped either, so everyone there was hearing each letter for the first (and possibly last) time. What an interesting idea! All of the proceeds were donated to the National Book Foundation (which is also something I need to research). Overall, it was a great experience. I highly recommend attending one of these events in NYC if you can.
After being exposed to such great writings, I was inspired even more to stick to my 'writing something everyday' thing that I've been trying to do. Today will make day 14 of me consecutively writing an entire page! I may actually finish an entire notebook this time around. Don't get me wrong, typing is cool and all ( I wouldn't be doing it every single week if I didn't think so), but there is something different about taking your good ole' hands and using a pen on that crispy off-white lined paper. There is also something quite different about writing just for the heck of it as opposed to writing something that you HAVE to write.
When I was a young stupid teenager in school, we didn't have the luxury of cell phones. Well, what I really mean is, I didn't have the luxury of cell phones because I was poor. I didn't really mind. I was super into note writing. I use to pass notes all freakin' day! There was something quite mysterious about the whole thing. Something in the anticipation of waiting for them to read it...glancing at them every once in a while to see their expressions change...Waiting for them to write back...waiting for the right time and place to make the pass off. Ugh, it was all so exhilarating! The time and effort we put into each note were carefully considered and deliberated. You had to be certain of every single thing you put on that piece of paper. A note can last waaaay longer than a measly text. I've had some notes for years! They definitely stand the test of time. Perhaps that's why more thought had to go into the writing of a tangible letter. Whatever the case may be, there is a certain level of character that a physical copy of written words possesses. It may be looked upon some these days as unprofessional in certain environments, but that does not mean that we should stop it altogether entirely. The Women of Letters event really brings to light the fact that we just don't put as much care into the things we say. Everyone seems to press for faster and faster responses. In the early 1800s, it took MONTHS to send and receive letters...and those people WAITED for that response hunny.
Switching back to reading for a brief moment, I admit that it did take me quite some time to finish the book "The Picture of Dorian Gray". This was mainly because of the writing. I don't know how the heck they expected my high school aged self to read that darn thing. The language is pretty advanced. Around one of the super descriptive, detailed chapters, I got pretty frustrated and took a break from the book. But alas, I was determined to finish it by this week, so I picked out a nice fireplace to cozy up next to (my favorite hotel lobby ever Gramercy Park Hotel), got a nice glass of wine, and decided to really put myself in the mood. Well, I must say, Dorian Gray turned out to be a very intellectually interesting read. The book was written 2 centuries ago, AND in a different country's dialect. Not to mention, it had many references to people and places I had never heard of before. I got through it by putting myself in the position of the writer. The way he put together phrases and sentences began to greatly intrigue me. To be a fiction writer means to distort the language in such a way that forces the reader to search for the underlying message. Wilde did so quite beautifully if I do say so myself. Simply broken down, it's the difference of someone replying to the text message "What are you up to" with "Nuthin'", or "I'm simply enjoying the mundane pleasure of absolute motionlessness." I'd be MUCH more inclined to respond to the second version, ya know?
Point is, writing can be so beautiful and amazing. The perfect outlet of any creative, or logical brain alike. Every once in a while, I feel it's good to actually take the time and use those skills we were taught how to do back in school. Some people don't even know HOW to read or write, and here we are wasting that precious knowledge. I guarantee you, writing an actual letter to a loved one will totally make their day. Just try it! To help you out, I just found out that the price of stamps is going down, so there really is no excuse people!
**Information on Women of Letters and available tickets for the next event are right here! Seriously, check it out. I'll be there next month too!
p.s. Seriously though, I heard a little while ago that they no longer offer teaching handwriting in some schools. What is that nonsense!?? Something really has to be done about that if it's true.
p.p.s. Texts really have ruined the art of wooing through writing. Don't make it THAT easy for them ladies.
p.p.p.s. One of my favorite things about "The Picture of Dorian Gray" was the great quotes. One of my favorite being, "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." **The explanitory notes at the end of the book really did help to understand all of that old English mumbo jumbo too.**