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Journal Writing Project - 4/4/11

Mon, Apr 4th, 2011
Posted in Journal Student Writing Project

Have you ever wanted to tell somebody something in the worst way, but you simply couldn't? Have you ever heard the saying, "Some things are better left unsaid?" What if these "things" were better off being heard? Heart pacing (thump thump thump), thoughts uncontrollably racing, palms drenched in sweat and knees becoming unbearably achy. This may be a hideously uncomfortable, yet familiar feeling for many of us. You may be the type of person that tenses up when put on the spot with a serious, in-depth conversation. If that is the case, why not write a letter?

The word "letter" is defined as "a written or printed communication addressed to a person or organization and usually transmitted by mail" (Webster's College Dictionary, 2005). Bear in mind, however, that letters do not necessarily need to be sent via mail. I believe a shorter, yet more accurate vernacular of "letter" should be "documented memories." After all, this really is what a letter is/does. Are memories truly documented if we are using the internet and pages such as Facebook and MySpace to carry on conversations? Some of you might say, "Of course they are." In reality, this may not be the correct answer. Don't get me wrong; I am not degrading social websites. I am as much of a Facebook "fanatic" as the next person. Will technology (these sites) be around forever though? That is a question that is up in the air; we may never know the answer, at least not in this lifetime. If that is the case, why are so many people using technology to communicate?

Whatever happened to writing a good, old-fashioned letter? You know, with a pencil/pen and paper (in case you have forgotten). This is a surefire way to guarantee that the "memory/message" of the letter will be there forever. Granted, its words may not be instilled in your "internal hardware/drive," but we will at least have something to refer back to - a memory, a letter! Historically, this was the only means of communication from one party to another.

Aside from technologically advancing, we have advanced in other ways. If we were living in the mid-19th century, we would have to rely on the Pony Express to communicate with our "cousin Bob" on the west coast. Saddlebags of mail were carried by horse across many miles of terrain. Waiting for a letter to arrive in the mail today is literally nothing compared to the 19th century wait. Perhaps today we can describe our use of the internet to communicate as our increased laziness or, better yet, our fast-paced lifestyle. We do not take the time to enjoy life for what it is (the simple things) as our ancestors did. Take a moment or two out of your day to write a letter. This someday, too, may be an important piece of history, a "documented memory" for someone.

Not expressing yourself fully with another individual because you would feel awkward and uncomfortable? Guilty as charged. I, too ,can admit to this. I hope this article has inspired others to write a letter, a "documented memory" to a loved one. After all, we are tomorrow's history.

So, Mom and Dad, here is my "letter" to you:

Thank you for supporting me in anything and everything I choose to do. You have given me the drive to succeed, the hope to fulfill my dreams, and the mentality that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. Although I may not say this as much as I should, I love you. I know I do not need to say this, as you already know I do, but I believe this short letter will leave an impression to look back on as a "pick-me-up" if you ever need one.

Love always,


Danette Stortz is a student at Mabel-Canton High School. She is one of 10 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its twelfth year.

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