A few days ago, in amongst my Christmas cards, I received a handwritten letter from an old friend. A decade or two ago this wouldn't have been an unusual occurrence, but I really appreciated the fact that my friend had taken the time to put pen to paper to share her news and tell me what she and her family have been up to for the past twelve months, because in the few short years since the advent of email and social media, the centuries old art of letter writing has all but died out.
In my teens and early twenties I was a prolific letter writer. My letters to friends and family weren't so much news updates as musings of self discovery. Frequently many pages long, they were written in an elegant free flowing script as my thoughts unleashed themselves and took shape. When it comes to handwriting, practice it seems definitely does make perfect. These days I rarely write anything longer than a shopping list longhand, and my handwriting has deteriorated to a careless hurried scrawl.
On the very same day that the letter from my friend arrived I also received a prettily wrapped package in the post containing a beautiful Sonnet fountain pen from Parker.
I started thinking about how different my approach to writing is now that my journey towards crafting almost any written communication nearly always begins on a screen rather than with pen and paper. So for this my final post of the year I decided to step away from my computer screen and write longhand instead. I lit my favourite scented candle, opened a smooth new vellum notebook I'd been 'saving' for a worthy moment, unboxed the Sonnet from its grey cloth bound and gold embossed packaging and began to write.
There is something about the experience of both seeing and feeling your thoughts race across the page as the ink flows from your fingertips via a beautiful writing instrument that somehow frees up the mind. I quickly realised that I'm not simply nostalgic for the days in which we sent and received handwritten letters, something else has also been lost in the digital age - the art of writing itself.
Perhaps the quiet understated luxury of an elegant and perfectly balanced fountain pen with an 18k solid gold nib, actually can lead to better writing, or perhaps I'm deluding myself? Either way I'm planning to step away from my screen to enjoy the tactile experience of putting pen to paper a little more often in 2016.... and I'm definitely resolving to send more handwritten notes and letters.
So with that I'm signing off for 2015. I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year.
Posted in collaboration with Parker. All thoughts and images my own.