The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Guest column: Handwritten letters revolutionary old-school method of keeping in touch


I’m on a campaign to rescue the United States Postal Service.

This year, I’ve spent $19.80 mailing 20 handwritten letters to family and friends; that’s an average of two letters per week.

I could have sent a message on Facebook for free, but I decided to pay money to send my correspondence.

But why?

A few months ago, I had a friend who committed suicide. After his death I learned I needed to better maintain the “cords of friendship” with both friends and family.

I started by sending more emails — something besides the typical “how you been” variety. But I remembered it’s easy for an email to get lost in the cavalcade of messages cluttering an inbox. Email has become tantamount to postal junk mail.

The majority of emails I receive are rewards offers from hotels, birthday notifications from Facebook, or receipts from iTunes.

A phone call was my next option. It’s a great way to call and say I love you, but you can’t replay a phone call unless you’re taping it. On the other hand, a memorable email can be saved for later viewing.

But neither of these options was good enough for me. It’s what I had tried for the past 10 years with varying results.

Steve Jobs was obsessed with the packaging of Apple products — he believed it conveyed a sense of quality and thoughtfulness on behalf of the creator.

Apple still agonizes over the packaging of iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Jobs wanted it to feel like a ritual when an Apple customer opened a new device. I wanted my friends and family to feel that same ritual when they received a message from me.

But how could I do that?

Part of getting our messages to resonate — to convey that we care — is to make our communication stand out. And so I took a lesson from Steve Jobs and adopted a solution that would allow me to control the “entire widget.”

I was going to write handwritten letters.

It takes time to write a letter: to gather your thoughts, and write them on a piece of paper with no backspace key. And if you’re purchasing stamps to send a letter — at 49 cents a pop — they’re going to know you care when you could have simply logged into your computer and sent a message for free.

Set a reasonable goal. Write one letter a week or month.

So put the pen to paper and your thoughts in ink. Sign the bottom. Fold the letter. Lick the envelope. Place a stamp in the top right corner. Remember how to address an envelope. Google how to address an envelope. Run your hands around the sharpened corners. Walk your letter to the mailbox. Put the handle up.

And wait.

Kitsana Dounglomchan, an 11-year Air Force veteran, writes about his life and times for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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