To Mindfully Communicate

A handwritten letter says what nothing else can,

A handwritten letter offers something deeper than what we’ve become accustomed to in this era of instant communication.

Yes, we tap out quick missives in reply to today’s email and text messages. We respond, with a sentence or series of words, to a social media post, but it is always more reaction than interaction.

The width and breadth of a traditional handwritten letter goes deeper and wider. A few lines, a couple of pages, perhaps a bit of history or update on a current reality; each letter of every word contains something you just don’t get from an email.

Correspondence — communication in handwritten form — is to be appreciated and respected for exactly what it is; a truthful rendering on a person’s thoughts, feelings, or theories. There is a certain intimacy involved in the inherent honesty of a letter.

You write differently, perhaps more truthfully, when you commit words to a page by pen or pencil. You forgo the convenience of a keyboard and bypass the spellcheck and cut-and-paste familiarity of this virtual realm we live in.

You tell the story of an adventure, or future plans, in greater detail when you write by hand. Between the salutation and the sign-off, the words on the page take on a life of their own. There is a change in the tense, the texture, and the tone of how, and what, we write.

Outside of the eraser on a pencil (the original word processor) which allows you to catch the occasional error or slightly modify a sentence, words land on the page as you think and as you go.

You read differently, more observantly, when you look over the pages of a handwritten letter. The brain, overly-accustomed to the increased amount of text we consume in a single day, has to process the information in what has become an unfamiliar manner.

The eyes register the information more keenly — with less physical strain on the eyeball than what is required to read off an illuminated screen — and follow each curve and line of every letter, at times struggling with the varied uniformity of each person’s interpretation of the alphabet. It can be a challenge to read someone else’s handwriting, but there is an appreciation that another human being took the time to mindfully communicate.

A handwritten letter takes time. Thoughts captured on paper one day could take days or weeks to arrive at the intended destination. There is not the immediacy of electronic communication, but there is not the need.

A handwritten letter is timeless.


What Happened

        Confused by what is important,
   outside of the deception,
   outside of the party lines,
          guided by misplaced trust.
  We have become
disciples of those with
   as many faces
        as hands.
    Did you know
             the ramifications of what they’re
        saying or the power
        they have?
I wonder what is important
      outside of the violence
      outside of the gleaming excesses.
          I don’t think this world
   needs to hear more political apologies
every single day.
  We all lead hectic lives,
  we think – or hope – that I or anyone
can be forgiven for forgetting
     what happened when
     we trusted
leadership and looking forward.
        No accountability.
     We do not
  blame – or fault – you, I or anyone
trapped by this contagion, this sin
   brought on
     by ego and ignorance.
        Politics. The evil within.


© 2019 j.g. lewis

The Seconds Between

We seek shelter, a leafy tree,
tenement steps, even pressing closer
to a random building
in hopes we may be spared.
                  It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Ignoring the signs, we forget the distinction
between lightning and thunder,
not counting the seconds between,
or caring.
Overcast, overcome with the immediacy
of the moment. Summer weather
a reminder of the turmoil we live with,
                              or clouds we live under.
A day as promising as a politician’s smile,
just as deceiving. Unnoticed, but not
unexpected. Forced,
by chance, to deal with inclement emotions
and torrential pain. Crushing humidity,
atmospheric pressure bucking
under its own weight. Our thoughts
hold us hostage.
                        Days rarely go as planned.
Night will come, as surely as our breath.
Here we are, huddled with strangers,
waiting out another storm.

© 2019 j.g. lewis