Behind Written Words

Wednesday October 10, 2018

Behind Written Words

Carol, Product & Fulfillment Manager

As a child, there are few experiences that I loved more than receiving a new set of crayons and blank sheets of paper. Armed with endless possibilities of Crayola colors across the white expanse of a fresh sheet of paper, my younger self would be lost for hours in worlds of color and, later, words. From scrawled words and doodles, I graduated to cards and letters—all of which my mom can attest to with her old shoe boxes stuffed with folded paper comprising of every color of the rainbow. Before I could write a correctly punctuated sentence, I understood that a written something could be intentional and that its contents could be made especially for someone.

Over the years as I’ve far outgrown scribbled homemade cards, I found that the beauty of intention behind a written note has never left me. Particularly, as I watch our world turn and shift towards an age of continually new technology, I find myself cherishing the simpler moments and gestures in life: receiving a postcard in the mailbox, opening a letter from a friend, or finding a little sticky note tucked away somewhere least expected. Growing up, there was no shortage of sticky notes placed around the house. Whether they were little reminders to take lunch to school or a wish of good luck on an upcoming test, I absolutely basked in the warmth of my mom’s love in each familiar bend and curve of her beautiful, careful handwriting. It was every minute she took out of her busy day to write these notes that shaped and defined the space where I spent my childhood and called “home.”

These days, as it gets too easy to be wrapped up among a variety of media sharing platforms, there is something incredibly refreshing and personal about receiving a postcard in the mail. Valuing the rarity of such a gesture nowadays and upon hearing my cousin studying abroad, I wasted no second to request a postcard from each country she would be visiting. Seeing the assortment of foreign stamps slightly smudged and torn in the corners and her small neat handwriting squeezed onto the limited space of the postcards - these details give me a glimpse of travel stories worth sharing. If only for a brief moment, her words take me to someplace else, somewhere less familiar than the bustling streets of LA, and I am reminded that the world is a vast place beyond the walls of everyday life.

While eagerly anticipated letters and cards are received with delight and gratitude, one of the most thoughtful notes I will keep close to me is one that took me completely by surprise: a note left in my car from a person who is very dear to me. It was a brief simple note, but I smiled at the possibilities hidden among his words. I will never stop wondering about the courage that fueled his action, and all the thoughts that ran through his mind that did not make it onto the note that started it all for us. My heart skipped a beat when I first laid eyes on the envelope, seemingly so out of place for a mere second, and now my world hasn’t been the same since.

Thoughtful words can provide comfort, take you to places you’ve never been, and open doors to new possibilities. Long after the minutes are spent, after the words are written down, after the paper is folded back into its envelope again and again until it’s worn down, and after the ink has faded, sometimes it is the intention behind a handwritten note that can leave a lasting impression.

So for all the occasions I’ve asked myself “Should I bother writing it?” —the belated birthday cards, the letter to a friend too long out-of touch, or just a hello to a traveling cousin—almost always, the answer will be yes.