Hand Written Love Letter Blues

My fountain pen has been a part of my life for so long it feels like forever.  It travels with me.  It scratches snatches of thoughts across scraps of paper here, pages in a book there.  The spiral bound notebooks sit in a growing pile, hidden in a dark corner of the wardrobe.

Fountain Pen, Central Park, Letter Writing

A steady companion in the hours of a broken night’s sleep I sit with pen and paper under the low light of a lamp, enveloped in the blissful solitude of time I can truly call my own.  The summer nights, so much shorter than their winter counter-parts, are more languid and lazy. For it is in the dark of the night I see more clearly, the bright light of a clear day blinding me to senseless distraction.

My notebooks are not diaries, nor are they journals.  They are the letters I write to myself.  The drafts of the stories to tell.  They make no demands of time that is precious to anyone but me.  My fountain pen is my hard-drive, bleeding ink and staining my fingertips with purpose.

Once upon a long time ago I wrote letters.  Because I had moved far away from family and friends, letter-writing became the regular source of contact.  Telephone calls were a rare, expensive luxury.  I enjoyed writing my letters, and, in telling friends and family all about me I was wanting them to tell me all about themselves.  Happy to tell, I was greedy to know.  With my letters I was able to transcribe and massage my subterranean homesick blues.

The momentum however could be sustained for only so long.  Letters of apology trickled their way to me, life “back home” either did not offer the same letter-writing opportunities of adventure or, with sad and more frequent sighs of resignation, they were too busy to sit down and write a letter.  As much as they would loved to have done!  I stopped writing the letters, fearful of becoming a burden to friends and family who remained so dear to me across the many miles.  Friends and family engaged in their rituals of routine as indeed did I, albeit in another part of the world I now called home.

But that was long ago.  The internet has transformed the ability to communicate.  We have email addresses, Facebook friends and connections, Twitter accounts and texting services.  No reason not to connect, unless of course we are all too busy . . . in which case we have all the means in the world but, without time and the will, we remain as distant from each other as ever.  Talking to ourselves on Facebook and Twitter.  Younger people talking @ each other and about each other.  Relationships developing, progressing and getting stamped with hearts of love to share with the world!  Nimble fingers keyboarding tender words of love and devotion.

Where, I wonder, are the letters of love to wrap in a ribbon, to have and to hold, from those days of youthful passion?  The letters, held in trembling hands of anticipation, potential joy or dreaded heartbreak?

Love-letters and the love of letters, surely they remain in circulation out there somewhere?

When did you last use one hand to write with, letting the words fall in a scrawl across a blank page?

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NB:  Please know, that as writer of this post, I have a dedicated attachment to my MacBook Pro and the internet, without which, none of this would be possible!

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