I'm seldom lost for words - any of my friends can tell you that. But again and again lately the question has arisen, what do you write in a first letter to someone you have never met?
I've received many lovely first letters since I began this blog - they were from Sine (US), Lorrie (Canada), Rebecca (UK), Joseph (US), Angelia (US), Rudy (US), Sue (US), Jennifer (US), Elle (US) and Esme (UK). Each of them was such a surprise and gave me a great deal of joy. I have been very busy writing back to each of you, so if you haven't received a reply from me just yet, you will soon.
Esme's arrived today and I think it was a very good illustration of what to write in a first letter. It was long, personal and anecdotal. I loved it, because this is something I struggle with a little bit. Esme admits that when she first started to get back into letter writing she looked up websites on letter-writing etiquette to make sure she was doing it right, and I can relate to that. Esme gave up on them, though, when it dawned on her that writing a letter can't really be taught or done to a formula - you just have to sit down and write. I agree!
I guess the usual thing in a first letter is to ask lots of questions and tell your recipient all the usual guff - age, job, hobbies, kids. That's a useful starting point, but I'm not sure it should start and end there. For me, the best first letters are the ones that break out and wind their way around a couple of good long tangents. It's in the rambling that you get more of a sense of the person, I think anyway.
I've written quite a few first letters in the past few weeks myself. They don't come as naturally to me as writing to an old friend, that's for sure. I have to think more - am I making sense? will they understand my writing? will they know what I mean if I use a particularly Australian turn of phrase? Am I boring them to death??? I cross my fingers and hope that the recipients will be forgiving.
Here is the envelope that Esme's fabulous letter came in.
You can see it before it was mailed here: Snail Mail Madness.
And here's a cute card that was also included:
I felt very special getting all this wonderful mailbox goodness. Hmmm... inspires me to write a few more first letters.
Love from Kaz
PS A big friendly welcome to Sue from Box 652. Hey, that rhymes :-).