I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conflicted before over anything. But then we’ve never been in this situation before I guess.
This morning I took my quarantined letters from their box under the stairs and sat in the garden to read them. It’s the second time I’ve done it since lockdown and both times (apart from being almost moved to tears) it completely confirmed the importance and significance of letters. And each time it breaks my heart that this evil little blighter (stronger words available) of a virus is wreaking havoc in every aspect of our lives.
Letters should be our saving grace right now shouldn’t they, and I promise, as much as anyone I would love to shout from the rooftops “WRITE MORE LETTERS! WRITE TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!” but being the worrier and over-thinker (not always a bad thing) I am, some genuine concerns crept in and I couldn’t make them go away. Ironically I always joke that I’m not the Letter Police so I definitely stand by the fact that people must do as they feel but it was just I wanted to explore what was making me sad and worried. I would maintain that that’s really important in letter writing too. It has to be honest otherwise it might as well be another form of social media (which I do love but you have to be so resilient sometimes).
Anyway, the obvious worry is the spread of you know what via letters. I appreciate the science is limited and washing hands is effective but I’m not alone in being a little bit freaked out by the possibility of that. And then I started to wonder about all the poor postal workers dealing with a ten-fold (100-fold?) increase in mail and how really they would rather be at home with their loved ones as much as I am. You don’t have to look very far on the internet to see that our beloved Royal Mail doesn’t seem to be acting like the model employer one would hope for in these frightening times. Which makes me doubly sad because 1) I expected better from an institution I love dearly, and 2) it meant it all gets political and The Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society was anything but political. I mean you can of course write to people/friends/politicians about your politics (I often do) but my Society was just about inspiring people to write letters to each other again.
The people who deliver my letters on my behalf, i.e. our posties, their safety and well-being mean so much more than any ambitions I may have for my Society (even though I should point out I don’t really have any). For me, like all frontline workers, one postie’s lack of PPE is one too many.
But know I haven’t stopped writing letters, or in fact sending some (some I scan or photograph and email too as an alternative) and thankfully the postal workers voices are being heard in higher places (if it’s not already too late) so if my letters don’t get delivered for some time that will be out of my hands. Of course some letters are truly essential, especially those to people completely isolated and alone and our incredible posties would go to the ends of the earth to deliver those. It’s just the non-essential ones which I could hold-fire on sending, just to lend them my support.
I say never stop writing letters, and of course send them if you want to. I just wanted to explain in case it looked like I’d gone off the boil in terms of our handwritten letter revival.
I promise that couldn’t be further from the truth.