The only time I use snail mail is when I send letters to three bishops I admire and treat as my spiritual fathers (it’s possible). Apparently, snail mail is not dead. Two months ago, I received a reply from the secretariat of one of these bishops (this retired prelate used to be called Cardinal Ratzinger, I don’t know if you know him). The reply came via snail mail.
So my point is: snail mail is alive, and I think it would be good to use it once in a while for the following reasons:
- The ladies and gentlemen at the post office deserve a break by actually having some customers. The one who took my letter today was very attentive and courteous despite the sweltering 4pm heat. I was amazed by their endurance at having to work in such a dilapidated place; pawnshops are far better!
- Writing in longhand makes you value the fact that you are communicating to whoever you’re writing to because you’re actually doing something with concentration and effort!
- Pen and paper on hand can be a potent trigger of childhood memories (mine include writing to a doting aunt in the US and to “penfriends” in Finland and France, and drafting cheesy poetry). As for whatever bitter memories pen and paper may trigger, though, a non-sentimental filtering process should come in handy.
- The entire exercise will make you grateful email was invented!