Letter Writing

Letter Writing

There was a time when we wrote letters not emails – when we kept journals not blogs.  What would we know of Vincent if he emailed Theo?   Even if we had the lawyers’ and media’s snoopers find the emails in some cast-off hard drive, we would have lost the drawings in those letters.  What if Vincent had been telephoning Theo??

Delacroix wrote about color and drawing and art history:  ”The work of a painter who is not a colourist is illumination rather than painting. If one intends something other than cameos, colour is, strictly speaking, one of the founding principles of painting, no less so than chiaroscuro, proportion and perspective… Colour gives the appearance of life.”  Now, that’s worth reading.

Who of the letter-writing artists of the past was doing so with the hope or expectation of of a broad audience? Blogging does not allow for the thoughtful give and take of hand-written discussion where the topic may be relatively intimate between two well-versed parties.  Emails are notorious  for being sent without a second thought and homogenized with cryptic texting code.  Bemoan the missing penmanship of the hand-written word, the personality, the tonality, the choice of paper.

The value of diaries or years of correspondence is in their depth and their humanness.  It is in the things shared between the lines and aside from the topic at hand. It is the completeness of the world of thought of an individual, expressed in more than words.

I write thank you notes but not letters.  I’m thankful for the people who do write and extra thankful for those who write well. Blogs are immediate and current but what happens when we get that electromagnetic pulse that the History Channel talks about? We lose all the 1′s and 0′s on a bunch of servers.  All the knowledge and the chit chat – POOF – gone.

I highly recommend good paper and a special pen.  Nothing like tools and materials you love to keep you on task.  (-and French was not Vincent’s first language.)

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.” – Anne Frank

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