By Jen Faulkner
Letter: a written, typed, or printed communication, sent in an envelope by post or messenger.
Over the years I have received several letters, and the contents of some in particular have stayed with me.
One of these was from my father, who passed away sixteen years ago. The writing doesn’t contain anything ground breaking or hugely emotive, but his handwriting on the page is familiar, as his humour within the words.
Another was written to me when I was fifteen, by a man who wanted to date me and claimed to be nineteen, when he was in fact in his thirties. I devoured his letter on the way to school, words from this charming man telling me, over five handwritten pages, that he was falling in love with me. Grooming at its most traditional.
These letters were personal, but letters can be powerful in other ways. It is a form of communication which has dwindled and been replaced by phone calls, Skypes, texts and emails, however, the writing of ‘open letters’ to well-known people of power and influence has become a recent trend, with letters often ‘going viral’ and being shared around social media by many who identify with the messages within them. If you invest in writing a letter, you are investing in its subject and the people who read it.
Letters have the power to challenge thoughts and provoke reactions, and writing them should be embraced. Which is why I have started this section of the magazine. And why I will be asking you to contribute. And why the very first letter is written to you…
Have you ever written a letter and then chosen not to send it? Do you have a topical issue that could be addressed through an open letter?
You may want to write to a boss who refuses to pay you the same as a male colleague, or an MP, a migrant mother, or public figure. Writing a letter could help you inform others of something they may not be aware of, raising awareness of an important cause. Through this column you could have the power to voice an opinion and be heard.
Your letter can be anonymous, written to anyone and on any subject, but remember – once published those words cannot be erased.
Think carefully. Write wisely.
If you would like to contribute, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you.