I failed utterly. Technically, I had failed before I began, since I didn’t write my first letter until February 2nd, and somewhat rationalized that particular failing by the fact that I addressed the letter to both my parents. Regardless, in the subsequent days, I only managed a further four letters, sending mail to my two distant siblings, and two friends and former coworkers from whom I am now separated by a pair of mountain ranges.
Five letters in total! A miserable failure by definition of the challenge, and yet, that’s four letters more than I sent during the whole of 2016. And in a time when I find myself spending ever decreasing time on social media, while simultaneously wishing that some of my good friends would leave off much of the reposting of memes and political talk that takes the place of actual life updates, there’s something deeply comforting in taking the time to set pen to paper, and handwrite a letter to a friend or family member whom you care about.
It lacks the immediacy of a Facebook or Instagram post, but it also removes the urgency from the reader. There’s no instant need to Like a letter, to conceive the perfect single sentence reply. Letters are for savoring, for saving, for reading at your leisure and replying in kind should you desire. I’d forgotten this.
Yes, I failed at the Month of Letters challenge. I’ll probably fail when I do it again next year. But it served a great purpose of reminding me how nice letter writing can be, and that’s something I plan to continue for the rest of the year.