observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

The Art of Letter Writing

vintage postcard boat with quote

Liz Carpenter’s quote is one that is near and dear to me. I used to be a prolific letter writer. It began early in life corresponding with cousins, a few of my Aunts, and several pen-pals. In later years when I moved away from Edmonton, my letter writing migrated to long handwritten letters to my mother and my son. Since my mom died, I have likely only written half a dozen handwritten letters. It’s a shame because there is a real joy in receiving a handwritten letter — just as much as sending one. My mother kept every letter I wrote her and now I have them tucked away so I can pull them out and re-read them. Re-reading those letters is like re-living what I was doing at the time and reliving how much enjoyment my mother got from my chronicles of life, gardening, and other joys. There is a real art to writing letters and, unfortunately, in this current digital age, most people don’t know how to pen a well written, informative letter. Worse than that, most people simply don’t write letters anymore. Do you write letters?

Don’t forget to spread the word — and to get Your entry in — for the fun pet photo contest. It’s a fun contest that is wide open and REALLY WELCOMES submissions from the general public. Ordinary snapshots mean a lot. Show us your pets! Deadline for receiving entries is only days away: March 31, 2010.

Have a fulfilling weekend everyone!


Diane is an on-location Custom Photographer (Editorial, Commercial, Portrait). She takes great pleasure in photographing people, places, pets, and hobbies too!

Diane’s website ||  Diane’s Facebook photography page

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Steve - March 26, 2010 - 6:11 pm

Such a shy dog but a completely lovable face. Great work, Diane!

DesignTies - March 26, 2010 - 7:45 pm

I used to write lots of letters to friends, my cousin, penpals…. I even went through a phase where I decorated the envelopes. I remember one with a gumball machine and another one with a drawing I did of Bryan Adams. I think my cousin gave them back to me, but i have no idea where I put them 🙁

Anyway, yes, I think the art of letter-writing is gone and might never come back. Which is really a shame, because an e-mail or a text message just isn’t the same as a hand-written letter.


cicero - March 26, 2010 - 11:48 pm

I write snail mail letters but they are usually typed in large print because most of them are to older folk whose eye sight isn’t quite up to snuff.

I love getting snail mail myself. So nice.

Candace - March 27, 2010 - 1:14 am

I love how you made the first photo into a postcard. I do send a few letters a year and usually make a notecard or something. I mean to do more but the time gets away. I enjoy receiving letters and handmade cards so I try to reciprocate.

don - March 27, 2010 - 7:56 am

I liked your sensitive discussion of letter writing and what kept letter mean as time passes. It’s sad that we’ve degenerated to the email which seldom has much content and will not likely be kept for any great length of time. Perhaps it could be revived as an art form and given proper value… but how?

Frida - March 27, 2010 - 2:08 pm

Hi Diane, I have had several penpals when I was younger and I love long handwritten letters. Since I sometimes have trouble with my hands I find it easier to write on the keyboard nowadays.

sherri - March 27, 2010 - 3:50 pm

I feel the same way about letters. From a very young child I recall the exchange of letters was nearly a daily thing for my mother and her mother. They never called each other and we lived about 3 hours away. After I married I wrote to my grandmothers and John’s grandparents. With the news that our postal service is thinking of down sizing or thinking it could be somewhat obsolete I shudder. It should be preserved for many reason, but I won’t go into it. There’s nothing like holding a letter in your hands, especially after a loved one who wrote it has passed away. Emails get deleted…part of our disposable society. A beautiful illustration with your post.

Toni - March 27, 2010 - 9:20 pm

Excellent post, Diane, and photos, too. I write a letter to one person, two or three times a year, which reminds me that his birthday is coming up and that is one of the times I write him a letter (he’s The Duke).

petra - March 28, 2010 - 6:15 am

love the dog-photo

Ginnie - March 29, 2010 - 3:18 am

You and I have had similar experiences, Diane, because I, too, was an avid letter writer. In fact, I had spcial files for individual people, whose letters I kept over all the years. I just threw all away, except for my family’s, when I had to downsize for my move here to Holland. It almost broke my heart. But I still have a smile for the memories. I bet you even have a fond memory of writing with fountain pens! 🙂

Marcie - March 29, 2010 - 6:36 am

It truly has become a lost art of letter writing…replaced by two to three lines of a quick email. Love the images!!!

Gayle - March 30, 2010 - 1:51 pm

I haven’t written a letter in a very long time. Handwritten letters were so fun to receive! My mom and her 8 sisters, who were spread all around the US used to write monthly letters. Even as a kid I loved to read them.