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Loving real, live letters
Lately Iâ€™ve been reading For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing. It's a delightful book. The author, Samara O'Shea, is a devotee of written communication, so much so that she runs a website called LetterLover.net, where she helps people write momentous letters.
Think of all the important letters youâ€™ve written in your life: break-up letters, cover letters to get that amazing job, thank-you letters for people whoâ€™ve made a difference in your life. This book celebrates the lasting value of letters like these, and better yet, gives some very sound advice for writing all sorts of important letters, with wonderful historical examples.
. . . These days, of course, most of our written communication occurs over email. I'm conjoined to my email. In fact, I often find myself wishing various members of my family would start using it, so it could be easier to keep in touch with them.
But email, as Oâ€™Shea so beautifully puts it, gains in speed, but loses in language. We tend to communicate more tersely, and less originally, via keyboard. Not to mention, email is ephemeral - unless you print and save every email you get. Letters, on the other hand, are considered before written. And they're saved. Cherished, even.
(Incidentally, you might want to join Felicia's letter-writing challenge and possibly win a copy of the book, and some tasty stationery.)
. . . And so I was inspired by the book to design a little letter-presentation card, inspired somewhat by matchbook note pads.
All you need is an envelope, a few sheets of letter paper, and a sheet of decorative paper at least 12â€ square. (Ideally, your decorative paper has something nice on the reverse side as well.)
Youâ€™ll need to cut the papers to size. Iâ€™m not much for measurements, so my formula was this: I looked at the width of my envelope, and cut a strip of decorative paper 1/4â€ narrower than that, and a little more than twice as long. Then, I trimmed my letter paper so the sheets were 1/4â€ narrower than the decorative paper.
Stack the letter sheets on top of the decorative stuff. You should have at least 1â€ of decorative sticking out at the top. Fold this over the letter paper.
Take an Xacto, and cut two small slits in this fold. Cut all the way through all layers. (You could punch holes with a hole punch instead, or even install grommets.)
Thread some nice ribbon through these slits. The flat side should face the inside . . . .
. . . And the tied side should face out.
Fold the whole thing in half. Now you have a lovely presentation, and a way to make your next letter a keepsake. Inside are pages waiting to be covered with your words.
. . . And be sure to add a nice little something underneath the letter, for those who are curious enough to look there.