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English Muse: The Lost Art of Postcard Writing

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Lost Art of Postcard Writing


The New York Review of Books just posted a brilliant essay by Charles Simic on this subject. An excerpt:

"Until a few years ago, hardly a day would go by in the summer without the mailman bringing a postcard from a vacationing friend or acquaintance. Nowadays, you’re bound to get an email enclosing a photograph, or, if your grandchildren are the ones doing the traveling, a brief message telling you that their flight has been delayed or that they have arrived. The terrific thing about postcards was their immense variety. It wasn’t just the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, or some other famous tourist attraction you were likely to receive in the mail, but also a card with a picture of a roadside diner in Iowa, the biggest hog at some state fair in the South, and even a funeral parlor touting the professional excellence that their customers have come to expect over a hundred years."

I miss snail mail.

(Photo by Moline)


Blogger sami said...

i totally agree with you and miss even using special stationery! it's truly a lost art.

xo sami

August 3, 2011 at 7:13 PM  
Blogger Her name was Lola said...

My sentiments exactly! Thank you for posting. xo Lola

August 3, 2011 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger olivia said...

i agree! i collect vintage postcards with written messages and stamps, sometimes I put them on my blog! my hubby and I take a lot of roadtrips, I still send postcards!

August 3, 2011 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Ta said...

What a great thing to try to pick back up. I think i might try.

August 3, 2011 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Apple said...

I often wish I'd grown up in a snail mail era. It's always been such a beautiful idea to me.

August 3, 2011 at 7:34 PM  
OpenID said...

I remember having penpals in school! God those were the days. We'd send pictures and letters and little scraps and stickers that we thought were interesting. :) Man I miss snail mail. And I used to get and send post cards all the time! Especially when we lived in Europe. It is most definitely a lost art.

August 3, 2011 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Molly McGonigle said...

Me too! I still write postcards to my best friends and Grandmas. Nothing replaces a postcard on a bulletin board.

August 3, 2011 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger vicki archer said...

Miss it desperately...xv

August 4, 2011 at 2:55 AM  
Blogger Steve Gravano said...

So much of what we know about our past, both collective and individual will be lost to technology. E-mails and photographs will be lost forever if not printed out. Receiving a letter or postcard in the mail was and still is very special.

August 4, 2011 at 4:32 AM  
Blogger Krissy (Shimmer Like Gold) said...

I love writing letters and postcards. I have a few friends that I write regularly; it's such fun. It's a shame it's becoming a lost art.

August 4, 2011 at 4:38 AM  
Blogger Mal said...

I completely agree, I loved receiving postcards from traveling friends and family.

August 4, 2011 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger Rouenna said...

Yesterday, a postcard arrived in our doorstep from a friend who's now vacationing in Europe. Then, it hit me, how I was so giddy receiving it (more giddy than if she had opted to email me).

I love postcards and letters sent and greeting cards. It's saddening that this way of communicating is fading.

August 4, 2011 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger DENISE. said...

Me too! I think there are too many of us who love it to ever let it go away.

August 4, 2011 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Giulia said...

I miss receiving them but I am the champeen sender of them - still. Yep. So pass it around. I can't go anywhere this summer but I still send postcards. I just rec'd three squealing thank you emails from recipients. I also send them for birthdays a lot.

Keep it up, ppl. Some of us participated in a Lori Langille (of automatism fame & EngMuse header fame) project last year - the Benevolent Postcard Society. I'm a big internetzer but I'll never give up on postcards. xo

August 4, 2011 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger sécia said...

I still send postcards whenever I can. My mother-in-law sends them to us from her travels and I just love them! I think they're so much fun to receive. Telegramstop is a cool new way to send telegrams too.

♥ sécia

August 4, 2011 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

I go to the drug store and pick out cute "thinking of you" cards to send to my friends that live right down the street every now and then just so I can write something cute inside and tell them how much they mean to me. We all need a little less junkmail and a little more thoughtfulness in our lives.

August 4, 2011 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Naomi Bulger said...

I do too! Lately I've been collecting friends' mailing addresses just so I can send them little messages in the post now and then. My own book is about the storytelling that we used to put into letters, and how powerful this can be. I post letters of thanks to my readers, and have all kinds of fun on weekends writing to the people who've given me their addresses. I'm trying to bring back the art of letter-writing. Until reading this post and these comments, I thought I was doing it single-handedly. I'm so glad to learn I'm not alone!

August 4, 2011 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger aBroad said...

I love email at this point in our lives because no one wants to write letters or send cards to Argentina for some reason. Maybe because they don't always arrive?
So I am content with emails for now but when I was a wee little girl, my great grandmother would write to me and I was taught to write back .. I still have those wonderful little notes she sent.
I save all the postcards I have ever gotten and my husband just shakes his head ..
Everywhere we travel, I buy and save postcards .. I never have the heart to mail any of them away :)

August 4, 2011 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Karen in CT said...

... I buy antique postcards online and have a huge collection. I LOVE reading the messages, and thinking about the history. Long live the USPS.

August 4, 2011 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Luli said...

Wonderful post. I still write letters and postcards. And I wish I received just as many as I actually send out.

August 4, 2011 at 6:16 PM  
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August 5, 2011 at 5:19 AM  
Blogger Ion Ainil said...

Indeed I miss postcards... And I exchange letters only with very few people now!
E-mail is nice and quick but you can't touch it or smell it or feel your frend's hand on it..

August 7, 2011 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Karissa said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who desperately misses snail mail: letters, postcards, and notes.

August 8, 2011 at 9:49 AM  

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