Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The lost art of the written word

It's ironic to be blogging about this- because what am I doing if not writing down my thoughts?  Actually- I am talking about actual written words.  Journaling, cards for no special occasion and letters.  What was the norm in my childhood- my child (who is coming up on 23) thinks of as an aberation. 

Over the Christmas holiday my mom offered me a bunch of her craft supplies that she has forgone if I would go through the boxes with her.  As we were going through them, I found a couple of letters that Dad had written to mom when he was on an unaccompanied remote in Italy back in the 90's.  Finding them really got me thinking. 

I know that my grandmother saved all of our letters and tapes (remember cassette tapes?) that we sent her when I was young and traveling all over.  I know that for many years my mom kept a journal and both of them kept letters that they sent back and forth- it was just another thing I took for granted.  All of those things tell a story- the story of their lives and the story of mine.  That is something that I never thought of until I saw those letters and remembered that time of our lives.  So I asked Mom for the letters and things.  She promised to censor them 0_o and then put them together for me.  I want to be able to read them and remember, I want to pass them on to my child.  As I mentioned before- I have been not very good about journaling.  This, however, has given me a reason to do so.  A reason to write things down and stick with it. 

I have found my old journals- not just my Simple Abundance Gratitude Journal- but also a regular journal that I started- and stopped- years ago. Looking back at first I thought "how silly was I?" but now I see that no matter how mundane- it tells a story and hopefully one day my son can look back and learn something about us that he never knew.  It is my intention to start journaling again.  Maybe not every day- but often enough that he can have a record of our lives.  He can know us as people rather than just parents.  It is my hope that I can start journaling again now that he is not living with us so that he can see what we are doing and what we are thinking and what we are feeling.  He can have my journals and letters, and those of his grandparents and the ones that I wrote and recorded as a child and in that have a record of his heritage. 

It is also my intention to begin to write letters again.  It is always a lovely surprise to have a real letter in the mailbox and I would like to give that surprise to my friends and my son.  Yesterday I stopped at the dollar store and picked up some lovely stationary-like computer paper and a cute rubber stamp to personalize the  envelopes and made a list of people that I want to establish correspondance with.  I also intend to ask my cousin for Gran's letters and tapes.  I am sure he won't mind parting with them (if he still has them) since they are from us.  I also talked to my son about all of this and it truely piqued his interest.  I think that I will  also print this blog and put it in a notebook for him as well. 

I am so grateful that I found those letters.  It is like finding a part of yourself that you didn't know that you lost.  It has also given me a new perpective on my parents, and reminded me that there are more than just pictures to tell our story.  It has given me a new appreciation for "snail mail" and makes me want to go back to those days rather than dashing off a quick e-mail to keep in touch.  It also lets me anticipate that I will have the blessing of the old correspondance to remember my family members by in the future. 

Words have power- and our thoughts and memories are the ultimate gift.  I want to start compiling that gift for my son and any children he may have in the (distant- fingers virtually crossed-lol) future.


Jean Wise said...

You have hit a real spot on my heart. I too keep journals and regret not keeping them in more details earlier in life. It is like meeting yourself once again. The other day I realized I was again not journaling as much since I was posting more on my blogs. I decided I didn't want to lose that. I know someday my kids will read my journals - a legacy to them on my spiritual journey. found your blog after you retweeted my on twitter. Thanks for sharing!

MissDazey said...

You have a good point about leaving written material, not just online stuff. I have an elderly friend who has kept a journal since she was a kid, she is now 86.