“The pen is mightier than the sword” came from the play “Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy” written in 1839. It was derived from a 7th century BC phrase, “The word is mightier than the sword” If the pen has such power, what happened to letter writing? I know we have email and text messaging but I think those use the keyboard and not the all mighty pen. When was the last time you received an actual letter?
I get hand written, then photocopied letters from my “neighbors” telling me about their new siding and by the way the company has a special just for our neighborhood. Somehow I do not look forward to these letters. I sometimes get handwritten, then photocopied letters from my congressman. They always seem so personal. Again, not one I rush to the post box for. Every year at Christmas I get a few of the Holiday Letters, enclosed in Christmas Cards. They are photocopied but catch you up on the personal info of the senders family. I always marvel at these families and feel so inadequate. I imagine what mine would look like… “Susie was a playing with matches and burned down the shed, Little Bobbie just got released on good behavior after only 6 years, were so excited he is coming home. I just received my GED and plan on continuing my education at Billy Bobs school for Barbers…..” How can these other families be so perfect? Oh well, I do enjoy reading the letters. My Mom is a card person. She worked for The American Greetings Card Company for several years and really likes to send cards. She finds occasions I didn’t know existed to send cards. Mom always puts great, personal notes in every card. I do look forward to these. They are kind of like “Cliff Note” letters with illustrations. (And no my mom doesn’t look like the photo here but you get the point)
One of my favorite writers is Andy Rooney, pictured here. Andy is best known for his time on CBS’s 60 Minutes. Yes I know that isn’t writing but Andy was a writer at heart. He did a commentary on how he loved to receive and to write letters. Andy typed his columns on an old Underwood NO. 5. He had the best electric typewriters and computers at his disposal but her preferred his Underwood. Andy Rooney understood words and their power. He knew the power of a well written letter to influence, console, or just brighten up someone’s day. I miss Andy Rooney.
I am currently reading President George Bush’s book, “All my Best”, pictured here. President Bush was not interested in writing or dictating an autobiography like other Presidents. President Bush was a letter writer. He had been from an early age. He accumulated letters he had written from family, friends and official records. He assembled these letters to form an autobiography. Reading the letters you get a real sense of the man and his values. It is an interesting way to map out ones life through letters from your past. Although I haven’t finished the book it is an interesting way to tell ones story. Letters are written from the emotions and those are conveyed in the President’s book
I can’t say I am a letter writer. I go the path of the email and text message. I say that with a little sorrow. I do write notes upon notes. It is very rare to see me at work without a “yellar” pad in front of me. (Yellar is Oklahoman for yellow) I buy more legal pads than lawyers. I make notes on everything. I am not technically challenged. I utilize Outlook and all of the other electronic tools to organize my life. I still feel there is nothing to replace a nice scribbled note on a yellar pad. It’s there to check off and draw doodles around. It’s there to remind and guide your thoughts at a later time after all the interruptions. I also like writing these Blogs. I look forward to them each week. I have ideas sometimes planned for months in advance and others come from the hip. Most are not laid out and organized in advance. the words just flow with the thoughts (That explains a lot, doesn’t it). I like sharing my thoughts and like doing it through writing. Just last week, I ran onto a video blog. The blogger receded themselves doing a monologue of their blog. I was interested. I like technology and could easily put it together. I always thought I had a face for radio so that would be a hindrance but I’m sure I could get past it. I was pretty excited. With further consideration I realized I would miss writing the blog. I like the fact that my blog is written and the knowledge that others will read it. I like writing.
This all became much cleared to me last week when a package arrived at Ebsco. It was an order of custom-made note cards. They had Ebsco’s original artwork on the cover, courtesy of Erin who makes fantastic original artwork for the company. Opening the card was blank space to write a note. WRITE, not email or text. This idea originates from Jordan, one of our sales team. She wanted a company card to write personalized notes to customers in lieu of emails. When presented to or CEO, Cheryl and our VP Sales, Liz they were very enthusiastic about the idea and approved it. Erin designed the cards and I approved the order. When the box was dropped off in my office I opened it and looked at the cards. They looked great. Very professional holding the potential for something personal, holding great meaning. I texted Erin and she dropped by my office to pick up the cards. “Do you want any of these?” Erin asked. YES! What a great opportunity. To drop a quick line to a customer thanking them for the call. Write a quick note to a supplier complimenting exceptional service. A personal note to a colleague congratulating them on a job well done. The key is “hand written”. It takes on so much more sincerity than email of text. A hand written notes takes time. A hand written note takes thought. I can’t wait to send my first one. Maybe my first one should be to Jordon for the idea.
Maybe it’s time to change the phrase;
“The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard or the Smart Phone”
Just saying…. Time to go, I need to write a letter. Have a great week.