First published Saturday, December 21, 2013
Whilst travelling up to Llandrindod Wells for a meeting earlier this week with a colleague, we were listening to the radio, which on this occasion was tuned to Radio 4 and the Book of the Week programme. The book being featured was a collection of letters written by Lady Diana Cooper to her son, and I was struck by, and indeed commented to my colleague, that the art of letter writing has been somewhat lost as advances in technology mean that contact with others can be almost immediate whether by email, text, or social media.
Whilst this kind of immediate contact obviously has merit, I do wonder whether we have lost something of an art by not writing letters to friends and family as frequently as we used to. Maybe posts such as this one are in fact ‘replacing’ written letters to some extent, but it perhaps lacks the personalisation that a letter has. A letter written to a friend, relative, spouse or lover will almost certainly have been constructed with some thought, designed to impart news, emotions, inspire, provoke reaction. Whilst emails, texts, Facebook updates and so on may do the same to an extent, they are mostly instantaneous reactions to something, or an off the cuff remark, often without a great deal of thought. A letter however does require thought, and maybe in the world of today where everything is that much faster and immediate, thought and consideration to the composition and construction of a letter is missing. I intend to spend some time writing letters, proper letters in the coming months, particularly to my grandparents who don’t have access to email, to bring them my news and that of my children, their great-grandchildren. I will also encourage the boys to learn to write letters, whether by sourcing a pen pal, or simply getting them to write to my parents, even though they do see them regularly, it’s a useful skill to have.
Other conversations in the week sparked a great deal of interest and enthusiasm for future projects, and opened up a new train of thought for activities next year. Meeting new people often brings a refreshment of view point and thinking, and this week has provided just that. As a result I will probably spend a good few hours or so over the festive break mulling over a whole host of ideas that will drive progress and development for the future, both on a professional and personal footing. Having felt a little ‘flat’ and not really in the festive spirit, I left a meeting yesterday with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism, and ready to enjoy the upcoming festivities as well. Much needed and much appreciated.
No doubt before we leave 2013 behind and move into 2014 I will be inspired to put fingers to keyboard again, and maybe even pen to paper to a friend or relative, but I will certainly ensure that I remember, restore and maintain certain traditions from times past, whilst making progress into the future, developing ideas into actions and learning all the time, perhaps creating a few traditions of my own to pass on to my children as well.