For some odd reason the scene in Dances with Wolves when Dunbar finds a an old skeleton on the prairie and Timmons says “I’ll bet someone back east is going, “Now why don’t he write?” has stuck in my mind. Out of that entire movie, it’s the only scrap of dialog that has stayed with me, I had to look up the characters’ names but I remember the scene vividly. This morning I woke up thinking about letter writing.
It’s simply mind boggling when you start to think about how much people used to write . People thought nothing of penning letters to authors and maintaining long correspondences that spanned years.Ordinary folk kept journals,teens secretly scribbled their innermost thoughts in padlocked diaries. Receiving letters from home was a celebrated event. Old love letters were wrapped in ribbon and tenderly preserved. Instead of composing missives to our loved ones, we dash off emails, tweet and send text messages (okay, I struggle with texting but everyone else in the world seems to tap out text at the speed of light). All condensed and concise. Sometimes the words themselves are written in a sort of shorthand.LOL, NOB, TIM instead of little old lady, north of the border, this is Mexico. LOL (laugh out loud) is even used as a short hand for saying “wow that was funny! ”.
Don’t get me wrong, even I think Charles Dickens was too wordy. I’m not advocating a return to the flowery prose of Victorian England, but I sure wouldn’t mind a little more Mark Twain.We’re all guilty of succumbing to the modern version of the post card, emailing photos from our vacations instead. Banging out this blog is my substitute for jotting down my thoughts in a journal or scribing entertaining epistles to my family regaling them with our adventures.
Even though it’s often said “the internet is forever”.They say that once you’ve written it online, it can be found. In truth, just how permanent are these thoughts, this post? In the future, no one will rummage through my papers and learn about my life. I don’t have any. Thoughtlessly, I tossed letters away after reading them, never thinking to preserve them, all is that is left are my memories and those are getting fuzzy, but unlike the quote that starts this post, no search engine will ever dredge up that information for me.