|Shed in the snow|
Recently I've been reading letters from the eighteenth century as research for Book 2, 'The Painting', so I thought I'd blog about letter-writing.
The first letters I wrote were to my grandparents as a child.
We moved from Yorkshire to Cambridgeshire when I was fifteen and I exchanged letters with friends I'd left behind. This is when I began to write proper letters; where I included thoughts and feelings as well as news updates. Those letters between good friends were almost diary-like in what they revealed.
|Résidence du Rabot in Grenoble|
At university and when studying in France and Italy, letters to and from family and friends were pages long and receiving one would brighten my day. When I was living in Grenoble, halfway up a mountain in a Hall of Residence during the winter, my friends and I looked forward to the sound of a letter being slid under our bedroom doors.
I don't write letters anymore. When I send a birthday card to a faraway friend, I scribble a couple of paragraphs of news. Thank you letters usually only say thank you and 'We look forward to seeing you soon' or something along those lines.
Writing letters during my teenage years (and diaries) marked the beginning of being a writer for me. I wonder if the next generation will learn the same skills. Emails are usually shorter, possibly because a quicker exchange takes place. When writing a letter, especially from abroad I knew there'd be no reply for a week or two.
All the letters I've received since the age of fifteen are in A4 envelopes on my bookcase. Occasionally I sit down and read them. They're an insight into my life at the time and they bring it back a little like a photo can, but with more depth. I wish I'd made copies of the letters I wrote, so I could read them with the ones I received. That's one good thing about email.
Rylan reading out Claire from Steps' letter on Celebrity Big Brother