Wick Communications

Letters, we get letters

In Uncategorized, Writing on May 6, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I write a fair amount of letters. I mean real letters – not e-mail, Twitter posts, IM exchanges or smoke signals. I’m talking about the kind you seal in an envelope, address and stamp. I just think they are more personal and much more likely to get someone’s attention than a digital transmission of some kind. I try to write thank-you letters when they are deserved and I’m not shy about writing letters of complaint.

I mention this for a couple of reasons. Last week, I talked about the Half Moon Bay Review’s renewed emphasis in finding a pleasurable conclusion to complaints. Then I found this Web site, which is something I wish I would have thought up myself.

Letters are perhaps the most powerful form of written communication, in my view. They are exquisitely personal. They aren’t going to be forwarded to a thousand people with the click of a mouse. They are generally intended as a communiqué between two people. They also represent a considerable time commitment…

For those reasons, I think a well-written, thoughtful letter can head off a lot of anger and win a friend for life. (Consider the letter that accompanies this post, from the Letters of Note blog. It’s Conan O’Brien’s gently snarky reply to a teenage girl who asked for a date. I’m sure she will never forget it.)

Most of us have a bundle of important letters hidden away in some special place. While we may receive thousands of e-mails every year, few of them will ever mean much to us. Something to remember the next time you really want to make a point.

Clay

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