Creative Fuel Challenge #47
Write a Letter
"A letter should be regarded not merely as a medium for the communication of intelligence, but also as a work of art."
- J. Willis Westlake, How to Write Letters (1876)
via Brain Pickings
Remember letters? Opening an envelope and pulling out a piece of paper filled with words from a friend. The promise of a good story. The delight of news from afar. There's an allure of receiving a letter that goes far and beyond opening up your email inbox. To receive a letter is to know that someone thought of you.
There is an art to letter writing, because to write a letter is not just to fill a page with words—it is to fill your mind with the thought of the person who will receive it. Exchanging letters can sustain friendships for decades. It can be a way of connecting with strangers.
Letter writing is inherently a social act, but one that also provides quiet space for reflection and contemplation. As Lord Byron once wrote, "Letter writing is the only device combining solitude with good company."
Even the term for maintaining a relationship through letters is lovely: an epistolary friendship.
Today is for bringing joy to someone via snail mail.
- Pen or pencil
- Envelope and stamp
- Anything else you need
The prompt is simple: write a letter to someone. Get that epistolary friendship going.
Of course, there are some things that you could consider:
Make the act of letter writing special. This is an act of art after all. What pen will you write with? What paper will it be on? Will you type your letter? What envelope will you use? Will you make your own envelope?
Do you want the person to respond? Think of the art of letter writing like the art of conversation. When you engage in a conversation you want to not just talk, but to listen. Of course listening in a letter is difficult, but you want to welcome listening in the form of asking questions. Don't just tell the person things they know. Offer up the unexpected, encourage a response.
Think about how the letter will take shape. In a digital age we are used to the typical "this is what I did today, what are you up to?" exchange. But a letter offers opportunity for so much more. Writing a letter can be an act of storytelling, a space for exploring your own creativity. There's even a literary journal made up of letters.
Go forth and write your letters! And if you're not quite up to a full blown letter, you could also send an unexpected act of creativity, or take part in Postcards to Voters (support democracy and the postal service all at the same time!).
You can find all of the Creative Fuel Challenge archives here.
ps: I'd love to see what you create, so share your work! feel free to send me photos of your work, or send me what you have written. I'll try to share some of the work here and on my Instagram feed, so you can tag me @annabrones and use the hashtag #creativefuelchallenge
pps: feeling inspired? Send this email to a friend.
ppps: Creative Fuel Challenge is free and open to the public, but you can also become a monthly supporter of my work on Patreon if you are inclined/able to. You can also support my work by checking out my shop, where I have originals, prints, cards, etc.