While I was doing some Spring Webcleaning a year ago, I coincidentally received a phone call from Nick Bantock about my long-moribund fan pages on his Griffin & Sabine trilogy. As I subsequently cleaned up the link rot in Where in the World are Griffin & Sabine?, I was briefly re-immersed in the tactile pleasures of the letters-in-envelopes motif that made the trilogy such a novelty.
It would be nice if I could say the experience inspired me to start writing cards and letters again myself. After all, the more obvious ingredients were just a chair’s turn away — fountain pens, bottles of ink, paper and notecards and postcards, stamps. But alas force of will was in short supply. Even being the lucky recipient of a couple of items during InCoWriMo back in March was barely a blip on my writing radar.
Then, two weeks ago, a blog post on The Well-Appointed Desk had this quote from Phyllis Theroux:
To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.
That immediately reminded me of this quote from Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, which I had used at the top of the landing page for Where in the World are Griffin & Sabine?
Our correspondences show us where our intimacies lie. There is something very sensual about a letter. The physical contact of pen to paper, the time set aside to focus thoughts, the folding of the paper into the envelope, licking it closed, addressing it, a chosen stamp, and then the release of the letter to the mailbox — are all acts of tenderness.
And it doesn’t stop there. Our correspondences have wings — paper birds that fly from my house to yours — flocks of ideas crisscrossing the country. Once opened, a connection is made. We are not alone in the world.
I still don’t have pen and notecard in hand, but at least now I remember what I’m missing.