As the countryside whirls past my window, I write this message to you from my seat in the train. A glance outside can only apprehend one scenic view for an instant before it slips past us on board. We move forward à l'heure and given my current transitory state, I thought I’d write you a letter for this post.
Writing letters is a way of suspending an emotion. What we may feel in the moment of letter writing can very well change and disappear once our intended reader has received it. Yet, that’s part of the charm too. While the feeling of a moment may be gone, the writing – the evidence of our emotion - remains. A letter can be a part of us that we give to a loved one. As Beethoven once famously ended one of his love letters: “Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours, Ludwig.” AND as the iconic Stevie Wonder song says: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours”. I’m yours. And as you read each word of a handwritten letter, you can trace where the other person was before you. You hold each of their words in your hand. I’m yours, they say.
I recently went to New York City and visited the Morgan Library. There, I was lucky to see “The Magic of Handwriting”, an exhibit of over 140 manuscripts and autographs from the collection of Brazilian author and publisher Pedro Corrêa do Lago. Spanning nearly 900 years across six broad areas of human endeavor—art, history, literature, science, music, and entertainment— this collection feels like opening one mesmerising time capsule. As it says on the Morgan’s description of the exhibit: “Handwriting works magic: it transports us back to defining moments in history, creativity, and everyday life and connects us intimately with the people who marked the page.” And so, for a day, I was connected to the likes of Van Gogh, Einstein, Puccini, Stephen Hawking and more…See for yourself below.
The words we write have the persistence to survive us. And thus, our words have immense power. You see, the magic of handwriting is that it is infused with a sense of a captured moment – a lingering sense of the person whose hand was there not too long ago. And as our eyes travel in their inked footsteps, we are able to feel the purpose they poured over those particular pages.
As my train pulls into my station stop, I leave you with these thoughts and look forward to our continued correspondence. Until next time, dear reader.