I used to write long old fashioned letters by hand. Of course, when I first went to boarding school, at age 11, there was required letter home writing time. I vaguely remember this being Sunday, probably during interminable rest hour, certainly always the moment my Sunday headache set in. But in High School there was no time set aside and one wrote if one wanted to. I spent my free library times pouring out endless volumes of words, writing to each of my parents separately, to many friends scattered around the world, and sometimes to a cousin.
I think I was a pretty good letter writer. I could fill all four sides of the big long folded graph paper (I don't know how to describe it, you can't get it here in the US). I had plenty to complain about. My letters were desperately long and filled with sappy drama and emotion and longing.
I stumbled upon a stack of these letters the other day. I actually have them in a fancy leather trunk in my entry way. I glanced over them and felt sad at this lost 'art'. But not too sad. In many ways blogging is more difficult and therefore better. Whereas anyone can fill up four sides of paper with moaning and complaint in under an hour, blogging, good blogging (which I'm not pretending this is) should be focused, directed at an audience more difficult to define, and therefore have some unifying theme and purpose. Of course, the Internet is littered with long rambling letter like blog posts (some of them are by me) which say essentially nothing. But it is also full of excellent writing available for free, without the hassle of the United States Post Office, which, in Binghamton, is a hassle that defines the word hassle. Mailing a letter in Sikasso, Mali was easier.
Its not as if, in this technologically defined age, we've stopped communicating or lost anything, really. We've just redirected our efforts.