Samara O'Shea

August 1985

Reader Jim living in Hong Kong sent me a Washington Post article over the weekend. It was written in August 1985, and the author laments the loss of letter writing compared to the phone call. In August 1985 I was a month shy of my sixth birthday, and it was at least ten years before the Internet came to town. I guess we’ve been scared the letter is going away for a long time, and it has yet to finally go away. Here’s the write up: Letters: Treasures No Call Can Equal. Here are some eloquent points the writer makes:

“On the telephone you talk; in a letter you tell. There is a pace to letter writing and reading that doesn`t come from the telephone company but from our own inner rhythm.”

“There is leisure and emotional luxury in letter-writing. There are no obvious silences to fill anxiously. There are no interruptions to brook. There are no nuances and tones of voice to distract. A letter doesn`t take us by surprise in the middle of dinner, or intrude when we are with other people or ambush us in the midst of other thoughts. It waits. There is a private space for thinking between the give and the take.”