12.04.2010

"Leisure is the Basis of Culture"



Josef Pieper called leisure the "basis of culture."  In both The Lost Art of Letter Writing and My Love Affair with Letters, this phrase has popped into my head.  Is anything more leisurely than writing a letter?  As a follow-up to both of these posts, which spoke to the heartfelt reasons to return to a pen and paper, here are some practical suggestions for rekindling the enthusiasm for letters!

1. Get a cute wax seal and seal all your envelopes the "old-fashioned way." Super charming.

2. Buy cute stamps.

3. Use colorful markers or pencils to add personality to your messages.

4. Add a stamp or embellish the note with small pictures on the borders of your stationary.

5. Think up cute "closings" -- instead of "your friend" use things like "very sincerely yours,"  "I remain, faithfully,"  or other equally charming Jane-Austen-esque phrases.

6. Use Parchment Paper and a calligraphy pen (or feather quill pens? Available here.)

7. Learn calligraphy and make your own "Thank You" stationary using words from other cultures like "Merci" "Grazie Mille," etc.

8. Write letters while drinking a cup of hot tea sweetened to perfection with local honey (other honey will work, too, lol)
And now for the "high-falutin'" reasons...

9. Contemplate the fact that letters can be a form of art, and thereby infuse the world with beauty simply in the writing of them. 



10.  Consider how receiving a letter is such a sensual experience; everything from the physical handling of the paper, the smell of the ink, the particular curvature of the writer's hand-writing, lends itself to an experience of being in the room with the person in a very real way… their presence lingers long after the letter has been read, a continuous reminder of their affection for us.
11.  Finally, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, now is an ideal time to contemplate the gift of friendship in your life.  Each friend contributes something unique and irreplaceable both to one's life, but also to one's sense of identity, helping to form the ways in which to view reality, life, one's place in the world.  Some friends waltz into our lives and out of them leaving footprints on our hearts that impact us for years.  Perhaps some small comment made in passing is something you have never forgotten; a bit of wisdom that continues to be applicable as each new phase of life reveals more intricacies to us.  In either case, take a few moments to express gratitude for the gift of these friends.  Speak from the heart -- a short poignant note can be the light that brightens someone's entire day, week, or month.  The power of love expressed in the spoken language is not to be ignored.

  


Got any more ideas for creating fun letters?





2 comments:

  1. I have an idea! Light a candle at your "station." Candles always make everything more calming, romantic, soothing... Perhaps they can help inspire the words to come that are even hard to come up with when writing a letter. Plus, they are so fun to look at!

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  2. Great post! Perfect as we get ready for Christmas cards and the New Year! Speaking of which, it's going on my resolution list to make it more of a priority- I've been seriously slacking.

    I agree, Megan! I did the same- I have a candle stick on an antique brass candleholder. It really warms your mood!

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