The Lowy, Llew, and Loving Letters…

July 6, 2007 at 5:59 am (Uncategorized)

I was hoping to have Llew’s summary of Kevin Rudd’s speech at the Lowy for you today, but unfortunately Llew’s flat-out with work and hasn’t had an opportunity to do it for me yet. Stay tuned, though, and I’ll get it to you next week. It was basically the announcement of Rudd’s international policy, and it from what I understand from Llew, it was sound. We’ll all find out more about it, no doubt, but I’m glad we had our own insider there. He was recognised as a Lowy lunch regular at the door and allowed to sneak in at the last minute – well done, Llewie!

I’ve been thinking all week about the death of letters, so as the afternoon wears away on this Friday, I thought I’d share my lament with you. I have just about every letter I have ever received. I can’t bear to throw them out. I keep cards, postcards, invitations and your standard epistolary Dear Dianas, too. I keep them all. Sometimes, once in a blue moon (or rather more accurately, once on a rainy day), I even read some of them again. I think they’re things of wonder, and I cherish them. It’s so rare an event these days, receiving a letter, that it makes my heart ache for all those unsaid things. All those moments and observations and memories that aren’t being recorded anymore. Oh I suppose even this blog is a strange little open letter of sorts, and I know it’s how many of my overseas friends check up on me, but there’s none of the intimacy, none of the special honour of knowing it’s a letter I’ve written especially for ‘you,’ because you’re different people, and that knowledge affects what I say and how I say it.

Email is an incredibly powerful tool, and it is a vehicle of expression, no question. Some people who would never, not in a fit, have kept in touch with me through letters remain in my life thanks to email. I appreciate its speed, and I appreciate its size. I have boxes filled with nothing but lovely letters, and yet I can find email correspondence dating back years at a glance in a space that isn’t one. It’s all very remarkable to me. But the thrill, the out-and-out rush of excitement when I get a real letter in the mail is something I adore and the loss of which I truly mourn.

People don’t send me letters anymore. I occasionally write them, but I too am guilty of letting other modes of expression do it for me. I must start writing letters again. I had a brief revival when Tim was in West Chester, and that was fantastic because Tim wrote back, and his letters arrived in thick creamy envelopes that I thought were just fabulous. But now he’s back in Australia and my mailbox is as empty as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard is bare. It’s so sad.

I hate the fact that the mailbox is really just the repository of bills and advertising now. Once a month, if I’m lucky, my magazine arrives, but I’ve already decided I’m not renewing my subscription when it runs out in September, and then where will I be? Left holding out for the occasional postcard from some other bastard’s holiday – great!

Those boxes of letters are wonderful time capsules. Sometimes their potency is devastating. Sometimes old letters move me to new tears. And the laughs – boy, plenty of those. Teenage friends becoming angsty university students becoming professionals becoming parents…there’s lives in them thar letters, I tells ya, lives. They breathe their own air from another time and place, and I think they’re absolutely grand. I must start writing letters again – without them I am lost.



  1. Tim said,

    Ok, ya sook. Letter will be arriving forsooth. Sorry for slacking off.


  2. doctordi said,

    Odd – it’s letting me comment but not letting me upload a new post or check my stats…I hate it when something goes wrong with this. Generally speaking, I just don’t know enough technical stuff to fix it on my own…Anyway, that’s why there’s no post so far today, but thanks, Tim! Keep those letters coming!

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