The lost art of letter writing

The Root of it All


Maddie Root, Managing Editor

The world has moved on from relying on letters to be a major form of communication. Nowadays, there are more effective and easier ways to get in touch with people–social media, texting, and calling.

Although these ways are more efficient, it is sad to see that the art of letter writing has become almost obsolete.
I started writing handwritten letters during quarantine. I was inspired by movies I had recently watched at the time: The Notebook and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
I was bored, so I decided to write a letter to a friend. I wrote about simple things that had happened throughout the day. It was a good way to release some of the stress and worry I was feeling at that time. To my surprise, we continued writing letters back and forth over the months. I always looked forward to opening the mailbox and finding a letter addressed to me.
My love for letter writing grew as time went on. I started writing to more of my friends, and they began writing back. It felt like I was developing a deeper connection with them than over a quick text or call.
Something that started out as a silly idea had turned into something that I was passionate about.
This summer, I had a desire to turn this hobby into something bigger. I began volunteering for an organization called Letters Against Depression (LAD). LAD allows people to handwrite letters to people who are struggling with their mental health. It has taught me that writing letters is not only healing to me, but it is also beneficial to the person who may be receiving the letter. It has made me a more compassionate person and helped me have a better understanding of different mental health struggles.
Additionally, at the end of last school year, I started exchanging letters with a veteran. It has been eye-opening to hear her stories and know that she enjoys hearing about my high school life.
Unlike a text or email, letters are something that you can physically hold onto and feel more personal. The time and effort that is spent on a letter does not go under-appreciated. A letter may require extra work than more modern forms of communication, but it is extremely rewarding to know that you did something meaningful for someone else.
I believe in the power of a good letter. Maybe we can spark a domino effect. Consider this: try writing a letter to a grandparent, friend, cousin, or sibling in college. Take fifteen minutes out of your day. Let’s see what happens.