Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Writing - Corresponding on paper

Over the recent months I have been communicating by long hand and snail mail with fellow writer Bert Carson. He is very keen on writing using fountain pens and offered to reproduce a blog of mine on his blog 'Corresponding Writers'

It is interesting thinking back over the years about my writing experiences and at times it has been somewhat painful. As a child attending infant school (5 - 7 years) I was under the tutelage of a bit of a harridan Mrs Dobson. It was my misfortune to repeatedly pick up the pencil presented to me in my left hand, which in 1955 was almost a cardinal sin. I was repeatedly whacked over the knuckles until I picked up the pen in the 'correct' hand. So it was a wonder I ever wrote with a pen.

Moving on - my father was quite strict about the quality of my written work and if he spotted me making a mistake and crossing out he would make me start again. He wasn't being unkind but wanting me to do my best so there was no punishment attached to my making a mistake.

So the early years weren't easy for me writing on paper and the advent of computers was a godsend, but the intervening years had various writing experiences that were memorable.

At the age of 14 I began dating a girl which led to writing love letters and fifty years on I still remember the thrill of receiving a handwritten reply. 

When I left home to go to college four years later I was partially supported by my parents and as this was before the time that they had a house phone I used to write a letter every week and woe betide if it was late in arriving! This went on for the full three years and for some time afterwards, because it was 1979, and the birth of the first grandson, when mum and dad finally agreed to have a phone put into the house. Then the letters stopped.

At that point the world began to change and change rapidly. When I was teaching science in a middle school the government gave schools a computer. There was a total lack of knowledge and understanding about the machines so schools gave the machines into the care of the science or maths teacher. It was my good fortune that in our school it went to the science department - me!

Really since then I have rarely written a letter in anger and yet I must have missed the experience. It has been a positive action becoming involved in corresponding writers and writing and receiving a letter through the post stamped Huntsville, Alabama. As I understand it there are numerous other people involved in this form of communication. There is something more tangible about a communication that has been physically worked on to paper, each stroke by a human hand holding a fountain pen. It is a real connection and I would advise all who had the time to try it for a while, it is every bit as addictive as writing fiction but less one sided!
God Bless