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Old Fashioned Correspondence

 


Stop the presses. Not everyone likes Zoom. We’re not all clamouring to chat on Teams. It might just be time to get back to some old fashioned correspondence with a pen and paper and a beautiful card.

 

Inspiration

A few years ago Finn gave me a book for my birthday, called Letters of Note (check out the website lettersofnote.com). It’s a compilation of over 100 of the world’s most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters. And, as many of us continue to WFH or WTF or whatever it’s called, and schedule virtual meetings around a screen, I was reminded of the book. It’s good to remember the sheer joy of receiving unsolicited, and hugely welcome post. And to remember the sheer fun of writing a thoughtful and personal note.

Greetings Cards display on our counterback
Cards and stationery by Crispin Finn
Greetings cards display in store

Top Tips

 

  • - Don’t worry. Nobody, with the possible exception of your primary school teacher, minds about messy handwriting. Who cares about legibility? Half of the fun of the handwritten, is in deciphering the words.

  • - Nothing exciting to report? None of us has anything exciting to report. We’re living in the sitting room, eating cereal out of the box and doing bicep curls with some cannellini beans. It’s enough that you have bothered to put pen to paper.

  • - Spelling. Punctuation. Wow words. Who cares? I refer you to Point 1. Your primary schoolteacher and Lynne Truss may mark you down for bad grammar but this is not, in actual fact, an exam. This is about showing your friends and family that you are thinking of them.

The Experts

A little gossip never goes amiss. This from a letter Alec Guinness wrote during the filming of Star Wars:

I must off to studio and work....with your fellow countrymen Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can’t be right) Ford - Ellison (?-No) - well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing.

 

 

 

It seems that the most perfect letters are the ones which are most perfectly for their very particular recipients. Roald Dahl, writing to a 7 year old fan who had sent him her dream (water and glitter in a bottle), is kind, gentle and interested:

I must write a special letter and thank you for the dream in the bottle. You are the first person in the world who has sent me one of these and it intrigued me very much.
A thank you letter written by Roald Dahl

Images from lettersofnote.com

Roald Dahl writing
I also liked the dream. Tonight I shall go down to the village and blow it through the bedroom window of some sleeping child and see if it works.

 

Sometimes 20 pages of tightly spaced foolscap is needed (and let’s face it, you may well have the time) but heartfelt brevity is perfectly acceptable.

A letter to the Editor of The Times:

I have just written you a long letter. On reading it over, I have thrown it into the waste paper basket. Hoping this will meet with your approval. I am, Sir, your obedient servant (signed)

What to Send and to Whom

Caroline Kent of Scribble and Daub is the very model of a lovely correspondent, turning her hand drawn and painted cards, previously sent to family and friends, into a thriving stationery business. This is the card for your mum and your very best friend.

Imogen Owen is the very model of a rude correspondent. Look to Immie for your potty mouthed friends. Whilst rendered in her immaculate calligraphy, her sentiments are not always sentimental.

If you’re keen to spread a message of transatlantic harmony, which may currently be lacking, US designers Ashkahn, Egg Press and Lucky Horse Press are bringing humour, charm and some weird 60s vibes to the writing party.

Petra Boase is spreading joy and colour. These may be the perfect cards for this particular moment.
Meri Meri provides the cute.
Wanderlust Paper Co. the elegance.

What Now?

Choose a card. Pick up a pen and pen a note. Old fashioned correspondence. Nothing nicer.