My dear Banchan!
Do you remember what it was like as a child, to be so excited by the
snow? To take such pleasure in flinging it about and using it to
build Snowpeople and Snow Forts? It seems like so long ago, doesn't
it? Now, snow is just another nuisance to slog through! Still, the
laughter of the neighborhood children makes the weather seem not quite
as odious. But perhaps you enjoy the snow far more than I?
I'm writing to you this snowy afternoon from my darkened room, perched
in my purple chair with one leg tucked under me. It's cozy back here,
with only the soft glow of the monitor for light and my violet and
gold Harry Potter socks to warm my feet. There's a large mug of
freshly made chicken and rice soup steaming merrily on the desk - it's
still too hot to eat, but the smell is tantalizing and comforting, and
almost makes me happy that winter has arrived.
There are children squealing gleefully outside the window, engaged in
a rowdy snowball fight - they are celebrating today, because school
was cancelled. For the first snowfall of the year, it was
surprisingly heavy and caught everyone off guard. As you can well
imagine, the street has been filled the entire day with the joyous
sounds of children freed from the drudgery of homework and proficiency
testing and detention hall for the day. My own little Monsters have
been dashing between the living room and the front yard all day, rosy
cheeked and smiling and giddy with the prospect of more snow tonight
Perhaps the snowy season is the best of all for letter writing; the
snow gives ample excuse for staying inside, doesn't it?
I found your query quite fascinating, and thought it might be fun to
answer you in letter form, as an example of how to write "interesting"
letters. Like you, I enjoy letter writing, and indulge in it often.
My friends are scattered across the globe, and we all exchange letters
to keep in touch with each other.
The ones I've cherished the most are those that are descriptive and
detailed, painting a clear picture of what my friend is doing at the
time s/he is writing to me. Laura, for instance, is stationed with
the US Army Band in Heidelberg, Germany. Her letters are often
composed while she gazes out her window, and include vivid
descriptions of the lush green hills surrounding her home, the antics
of her neighbor's two large tabby cats, and the sounds and smells
she's experiencing as she writes. One afternoon, she wrote to tell me
about her neighbor, a sweet faced German lady who likes to bake. She
described in detail the smell of the bread her neighbor was baking -
sweet, cinnamon-y, slightly yeasty - and talked about how her neighbor
would doubtless drop by later with an icing-drizzled loaf for her,
still warm and gooey.
I had to wipe my mouth before I could reply.
Chances are, your friends are not in town. Perhaps they don't get to
see you as often as you'd like. Entertain them with descriptions of
what you're doing, the odd color of the car you saw on the way to
work, the strange thing your cat is doing as you try to write.
Describe your surroundings, the music you're listening to, the smell
of dinner in the oven. Descriptive language helps the receipient of
your letter feel like s/he is there with you - it lets them experience
just a little bit of your day, lets them recall what it's like when
they *are* with you, and helps maintain the connection and warmth
Consider letters that you've found entertaining in the past. Surely
there is more substance than "How r u? I'm fine. Write back soon." ?
Do you linger over letters bestrewn with details, and find yourself
wishing you were there to see for yourself? Do you laugh out loud at
your friend's witty turn of phrase?
What about you? When you're with your friends, do they giggle at your
facial expressions or howl with laughter at your wry tones as you
describe your boss's latest Annoying Boss Trick? Write to them in the
same manner that you would speak to them, and describe your
expressions or gestures as you tell your tale.
Ask questions! Everyone likes to be asked how they are doing or
whether their latest project worked out. Ask for details, offer
encouragement let your friends know you really care about what's going
on in their lives. They'll enjoy reading your letters just as much as
you enjoy writing them.
Take your time with your letters, too. Mind your spelling and your
grammar - letters crafted with loving care always pay attention to the
little details that make the difference between a slap-dash note and a
thoughtful missive. When writing letters by hand, use crisp and
interesting papers and rich inks. Enclose photos or little keepsakes
- one of my favorite letters ever came from a friend visiting Russia
to do missionary work. She enclosed a pressed flower from her front
yard, and a description of her yard that took my breath away. I still
have that flower *and* the letter, and even though she's been back
home for ten years now, I still cherish that glimpse into her grand
It only takes a little loving care to make a letter interesting. I'm
sure you'll have no trouble crafting wonderful letters for your
friends and family!
With warmest regards on a very chilly day...
PS: You might like to have a look at a couple letter writing articles
geared towards personal correspondence:
How to write letters your friends will love
How to write letters they'll never forget
I hope you enjoy them!