Rediscover letter writing in lockdown

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Zara Home is now selling a writing set. Putting pen to paper is officially back in fashion, and maybe it’s the meaningful connection we’re all craving

When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter? Was it a hastily scribbled A4 sheet sent to your parents from Irish college, or a quick postcard from holidays to your granny at home, or a note passed to a friend in a college lecture hall?

Letter writing has a sense of romance and nostalgia about it, and yet it’s not something we make time for now. At the moment, in terms of our social contacts, it feels like we might as well be oceans apart from loved ones. So maybe it’s time to resurrect the humble letter, the act of sending news to home, and updating our loved ones on the minutiae of our day and our inner thoughts in script.

We can speak over the phone of course but often a chat these days slowly ebbs into awkward silence and rehashing the same old ground because you both have run out of anything new to say. Putting pen to paper requires more thought. Maybe that’s what we have lost with modern technology, people taking the time to pause and think before they express something. Maybe this slower form of communication could provide the meaningful connection we crave when we are without access to anyone but those in our household.

Letters are something to treasure. Not so long ago, a letter from a far away loved one was considered to be precious, something for safekeeping. As another lockdown makes us realise yet again that we cannot take connection with our loved ones for granted, maybe it’s time to pick up the pen and let the people important to us know that they’re worth the time and thought of a handwritten note.

I decided during the first lockdown to write a letter to my grandmother. And I was surprised at how silly I felt. Why would I waste her time reading this silly letter about my time in lockdown, when she is cocooning? Would she be frustrated at my messy handwriting in this letter with nothing of importance to say? But I sent it anyway of course. Hopefully, she understood that a text or phone call just doesn’t feel like enough. When all I want in the world is to be in her kitchen, talking about everything and nothing, then maybe the gesture of writing home is the next best thing.