First, let’s just acknowledge here that having observations about letter writing is itself pretty weird. I mean, why would that even be a thing? I guess because it’s so anachronistic.
Nevertheless, what I notice most is that communicating by letter feels more intimate than any other form of communication. I suppose that may be because it’s the form I use the least, so it feels the most special. Or something.
It also seems intrusive. We all call on cell phones now, which means the person we call can see who it is before choosing whether to talk or decline the call. A letter, on the other hand, arrives unannounced. It’s just there. In a sense it’s like lipstick on a collar in one of those 60s office movies. The envelope arrives, and by the time you see it, it’s too late.
I also notice that I am very nervous when starting a letter, just as much for worrying how my writing is going to come out as for hoping thoughts worth writing will magically appear. The problem with writing cursive in fine-point fountain pen is that every hesitation is instantly, permanently transferred onto the page. Any attempt to fix it will be as apparent—more apparent—than the original mistake. It is one of my hopes that in a month of letter writing that that insecurity will go away. Or at least lessen.
I realize that it is pointless to worry about any of this. More than anything, I think this is a manifestation of my general discomfort from having finished my novel draft for Zero Tolerance and finding myself without another project to take up all the energy I had built up pushing to finish the novel. I’m waiting for comments, after which I’ll have my hands full with edits and corrections. But between now and then, I’ll probably just continue to overthink my penmanship (is there a non-gendered term for that?) and my letters and how they might be received.