The other night, I went to the most wonderful event.
Put on by the people behind the website Letters of Note, it’s an event where famous faces gather together to read aloud a variety of letters written by other well-known figures from the past few hundred years.
As soon as I heard about it, I decided to book tickets.
I love letters. I have always loved letters – loved to write them, to read them and, of course, to receive them. During my years at boarding school, I would wait eagerly for the post, keen to seek comfort in familiar handwriting (and hungry for the chocolate that usually accompanied each card). At university, I learnt chunks of iconic letters off by heart for my finals, faithfully regurgitating them whilst attempting to emulate the elegant phrases in personal letters of my own. Now, I find that I rarely write letters. Working in a digital space means that the immediacy of email and social media has eclipsed the leisurely pace of the pen. Whenever I receive a card or attend an event, I seize the opportunity to return the favour by getting out my writing set. Letters have a magic that digital correspondence cannot replicated. There is a unique intimacy in the inability to permanently erase mistakes. The act of putting pen to paper induces a certain type of honesty. You can learn things about a person from a letter that you couldn’t were you to spend hours in their company.