A few posts ago I compiled a list of things I want to do in 2012, ways to improve the quality of my life. It was a foul year 2011 and I need a way to reduce the stress and tension of life in these dark days of recession, austerity and decline. The following piece (by the sage of baseball writers, Roger Angell) in the New Yorker on the decline of letter writing has forced me to add one more: write some real letters to friends and family.
Losing the mixed pleasures of just arrived letters may not mean as much in the end as what we’re missing by not writing them. Writing regularly to several people—a parent, a friend who’s moved to another coast, a daughter or son away at college—requires one to keep separate mental ledgers, storing up the weather or the idle thoughts or the disasters we need to pass on. We’re always getting ready to write. The letters out and back become a correspondence, and mysteriously take on a tone of their own: some rambly and comfortably boring; others cool and funny; some financial; some confessional. They stick in the mind and seem worth the trouble.