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Leland Speed Library, 200 South Capitol St Clinton MS United States 39058

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How Writing a Letter Changed My Life

October 21, 2019

 

Dear writing center friends,

 

     October 20 marked the National Day on Writing, and this Thursday, October 24, the library will be swarming with letters, just like this scene from Harry Potter!

 

     Why will the library be full of mail? Because writing a handwritten note is way more fun than writing an essay, and we want to brighten someone else’s day with our words! Don’t you love encouragement and words of affirmation, especially when it surprises you in your mailbox?

 

     The writing center staff will be in the lobby of the library all afternoon providing you with stationery, envelopes, and stamps. We’ll even mail your letter to anywhere in the world!

 

     I remember when I started writing letters...many moons ago…

 

     When I was six years old, my best friend moved seven hours away to Kansas. Distraught at the possibility of losing our friendship, I began to send her emails to continue a conversation. We also sent each other handwritten notes. Over time, the emails faded, but the letters continued to flutter back and forth between our mailboxes. We chose to focus the bulk of our efforts not on email but on the written word.

 

     Thus began my first pen pal friendship, which lasted through elementary, middle, and high school and even continues now into college.

 

     My friendship with her grew because of these letters, and we learned how to communicate with each other, ask deep questions, and talk without cell phones. It is such a joyful and aesthetically beautiful friendship because it is dependent on the written word!

 

     And you know what? When we wrote letters, our friendship changed. Our lives changed. They became so personally and intimately affected by the letters in the mailbox. On one visit she made back to my hometown, she and her sister showed me the *hundreds* of letters I had written them over the years.

 

     They had saved every single one.

 

     I didn’t know that my words had such power. I began to write to other people, even ones who lived a few blocks away or who were among my own family. I used letters to persuade, to encourage, to update, to express gratitude to, and to learn about others.

 

     Writing letters changed my life as it gave me the ability to make personal use of my language skills as they developed and to learn to communicate with others without a screen.

 

     How has writing a letter changed your life? 

 

 

     I hope to see you in the Leland Speed Library on Thursday, October 24, from 12-8 p.m., writing a letter to someone who means a lot to you or someone you haven’t reached out to in a while. I guarantee it will make their day.

 

                                                        See you soon!

                                       Madeline

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