For as long as I can remember, the communicative power of the written word has resonated with me on a visceral level. As a boy, I penned many an overture directed toward whatever young lady happened to be the apple of my eye in the hope that this form of expression would adequately convey to her the depth of my puppy love. Prior to the technological advances which gave birth to email, texting, Facebook, and the like, letters held immeasurable value. People who are north of 30 (like me) will vividly recall the days of pen pals and long distance relationships maintained as much by writing as over-priced phone calls, if not more. This was a time when nothing lifted the spirits of soldiers, inmates, or exchange students more than a well thought out note from someone special. As I drove home this evening and began to reminisce about my letter writing days, I was amazed at the things I’ve managed to say, and have said to me, via this medium. I’ve expressed love, anger, disappointment, curiosity, and a wide range of other sentiments within the space of anywhere from 1-3 handwritten pages. I think that what made letter writing so ill was the fact that you really had to take your time and choose your words wisely. Quite a bit can get lost in translation if one isn’t careful, so the ability to express your thoughts clearly was critical. In my judgement, nothing captures the pure essence of this virtually lost art of communication more than the “love letter” and anyone who’s received one will bear me witness. Few sensations are more intense than pulling a fresh one out of the mail box and haulin’ ass up to your room to close the door and digest every word. It just made you feel special to think that someone cared enough to take the time to sit down, ponder how they felt about you, write about it, and send it to you. Personally, I was a sucker for the joints with the little hint of perfume sprayed on them or the kiss print punctuating the valediction. Don’t laugh, I know I’m not the only one LOL!
All of the aforementioned nostalgia notwithstanding, it pains me to think of how watered down the written word has become as a form of communication. It’s value has diminished tremendously based on the fact that it’s so readily available. We’re all walking around with smartphones containing hundreds of texts, tweets, and emails, the bulk of which don’t have a shred of depth woven into their fabric. It’s so easy to get a message to someone that we give very little thought to those that we send. Think about it, we misspell words, abbreviate whenever we can, and generally make them as direct and to the point as possible. It’s as if there’s a moratorium on creativity and substance in said realm. Even more troubling, is the sad commentary this reveals about the state of human communication in general. Let’s face it, people don’t even know how to talk to each other anymore let alone write to one another. We rarely say what we really mean, and when we do we blurt the shit out before considering how it will be received. The lack of sincerity in the world has reached epic proportions, and oftentimes our love for one another isn’t emphatically expressed until something happens to someone we care about. Enough is enough!
Enter my solution…without further or due I give to you “The Meaningful Message Movement!” Here’s my vision. I plan to start an initiative intended to breathe new life into the written word (particularly the letter form) as a vehicle through which we can express love and admiration to one another. We all have special people in our lives who have touched us in ways that they may not fully be aware of. This will give us a means by which we can let them know via a tried and true approach. Now, although I can be as old school as the next guy, I’m also a realist. I don’t expect people to go back to writing out letters by hand and sending them via snail-mail. In order to make this more convenient I’m proposing that we embrace our advanced technology and author the letters electronically, while maintaining the traditional letter format (customized to your specifications of course), and send them via email. The most important aspect of the movement will be focus on and adherence to the mission which is to recognize the people in our lives who mean the most and let them know how we feel about them. This can be a friend, lover, family member, a person who may have passed away, it doesn’t really matter. Here’s how we can take this to the next level. If you want to go above and beyond simply telling this person directly how you feel about them and you’d prefer to tell not only them but the world, I’d be more than happy to publish your letter as a blog post right here at Mind of the Grind. All you have to do is email me directly and let me know if you have any specific requests such as adding a picture. It wouldn’t require you to provide any personal information because the letter would indicate who it’s addressed to and who the sender is. If you’d rather keep the letter itself private that’s perfectly fine, you can still participate. Just leave me a comment indicating who you wrote to, why, and how your letter went over. This way everyone can bask in the joy you experienced from writing, and that the other person experienced from reading. My only request is that the letter be tasteful if you want me to publish it. An expletive here or there for effect is fine but please nothing of a pornographic nature as this is not the place for such content. Depending on where this goes we may be able to create a network of outlets through which the letters can be published and the love we share within them can reverberate throughout the world. Before I kick this off I’d like to get some feedback on the idea. If you have suggestions, thoughts, or a desire to participate, leave me a comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is my sincere desire to turn this into a movement which takes on a life of it’s own as it picks up steam and touches as many of the worlds truly wonderful people as we can reach. I look forward to seeing where it goes. Love y’all…