Aug 04, 2011

by English Muse

The New York Review of Books just posted a brilliant essay by Charles Simic on this subject. An excerpt:

“Until a few years ago, hardly a day would go by in the summer without the mailman bringing a postcard from a vacationing friend or acquaintance. Nowadays, you’re bound to get an email enclosing a photograph, or, if your grandchildren are the ones doing the traveling, a brief message telling you that their flight has been delayed or that they have arrived. The terrific thing about postcards was their immense variety. It wasn’t just the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, or some other famous tourist attraction you were likely to receive in the mail, but also a card with a picture of a roadside diner in Iowa, the biggest hog at some state fair in the South, and even a funeral parlor touting the professional excellence that their customers have come to expect over a hundred years.”

I miss snail mail.

(Photo by Moline)



This entry was posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at 1:54 am. It is filed under illustrations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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28 Responses to “The Lost Art of Postcard Writing”

  1. sami says:

    i totally agree with you and miss even using special stationery! it's truly a lost art.

    xo sami

  2. Her name was Lola says:

    My sentiments exactly! Thank you for posting. xo Lola

  3. olivia says:

    i agree! i collect vintage postcards with written messages and stamps, sometimes I put them on my blog! my hubby and I take a lot of roadtrips, I still send postcards!

  4. Ta says:

    What a great thing to try to pick back up. I think i might try.

  5. Apple says:

    I often wish I'd grown up in a snail mail era. It's always been such a beautiful idea to me.

  6. says:

    I remember having penpals in school! God those were the days. We'd send pictures and letters and little scraps and stickers that we thought were interesting. 🙂 Man I miss snail mail. And I used to get and send post cards all the time! Especially when we lived in Europe. It is most definitely a lost art.

  7. Molly McGonigle says:

    Me too! I still write postcards to my best friends and Grandmas. Nothing replaces a postcard on a bulletin board.

  8. vicki archer says:

    Miss it desperately…xv

  9. Steve Gravano says:

    So much of what we know about our past, both collective and individual will be lost to technology. E-mails and photographs will be lost forever if not printed out. Receiving a letter or postcard in the mail was and still is very special.

  10. Krissy (Shimmer Like Gold) says:

    I love writing letters and postcards. I have a few friends that I write regularly; it's such fun. It's a shame it's becoming a lost art.

  11. Mal says:

    I completely agree, I loved receiving postcards from traveling friends and family.

  12. Rouenna says:

    Yesterday, a postcard arrived in our doorstep from a friend who's now vacationing in Europe. Then, it hit me, how I was so giddy receiving it (more giddy than if she had opted to email me).

    I love postcards and letters sent and greeting cards. It's saddening that this way of communicating is fading.

  13. DENISE. says:

    Me too! I think there are too many of us who love it to ever let it go away.

  14. Giulia says:

    I miss receiving them but I am the champeen sender of them – still. Yep. So pass it around. I can't go anywhere this summer but I still send postcards. I just rec'd three squealing thank you emails from recipients. I also send them for birthdays a lot.

    Keep it up, ppl. Some of us participated in a Lori Langille (of automatism fame & EngMuse header fame) project last year – the Benevolent Postcard Society. I'm a big internetzer but I'll never give up on postcards. xo

  15. sécia says:

    I still send postcards whenever I can. My mother-in-law sends them to us from her travels and I just love them! I think they're so much fun to receive. Telegramstop is a cool new way to send telegrams too.

    ♥ sécia

  16. Chelsea says:

    I go to the drug store and pick out cute "thinking of you" cards to send to my friends that live right down the street every now and then just so I can write something cute inside and tell them how much they mean to me. We all need a little less junkmail and a little more thoughtfulness in our lives.

  17. Naomi Bulger says:

    I do too! Lately I've been collecting friends' mailing addresses just so I can send them little messages in the post now and then. My own book is about the storytelling that we used to put into letters, and how powerful this can be. I post letters of thanks to my readers, and have all kinds of fun on weekends writing to the people who've given me their addresses. I'm trying to bring back the art of letter-writing. Until reading this post and these comments, I thought I was doing it single-handedly. I'm so glad to learn I'm not alone!

  18. aBroad says:

    I love email at this point in our lives because no one wants to write letters or send cards to Argentina for some reason. Maybe because they don't always arrive?
    So I am content with emails for now but when I was a wee little girl, my great grandmother would write to me and I was taught to write back .. I still have those wonderful little notes she sent.
    I save all the postcards I have ever gotten and my husband just shakes his head ..
    Everywhere we travel, I buy and save postcards .. I never have the heart to mail any of them away 🙂

  19. Karen in CT says:

    … I buy antique postcards online and have a huge collection. I LOVE reading the messages, and thinking about the history. Long live the USPS.

  20. Luli says:

    Wonderful post. I still write letters and postcards. And I wish I received just as many as I actually send out.

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  22. Ion Ainil says:

    Indeed I miss postcards… And I exchange letters only with very few people now!
    E-mail is nice and quick but you can't touch it or smell it or feel your frend's hand on it..

  23. Karissa says:

    Glad to know I'm not the only one who desperately misses snail mail: letters, postcards, and notes.

  24. Lola says:

    I love postcards! I spent 6 months in Europe and sent postcards from every single place I visited to my mum and boyfriend, and heaps to my friends too! When I came home, my mum’s fridge was covered in them! There’s something so nice about sitting down and writing to someone when you’re on holiday!
    Lola xo

  25. What a great post. So funny because I just attended the San Francisco Paper Fair this past Saturday and blogged about the lost art of postcard writing. I even read Charles Simic’s essay! While I was at the paper show, it was mainly filled with people sifting through old postcards for collecting. There were thousands of them!

    So sad that we don’t receive them anymore. I received one this summer. Sadly another lost thing to modern technology…

  26. Jen says:

    Out of the blue, I received a postcard recently from a friend who has moved overseas – it is such a unique form of corrospondence and a shame that more people don’t think to send them, considering how globally connected we are.

  27. Joe says:

    The art is dying because we are letting it die as a society. I love to recieve and send postcards. Unfortunately I do more sending than recieving but that is ok. I send hundreds per year for travel or just communication. There is no law saying you have to use email. Here is a link to a great site I recently joined and I am addicted.

  28. Mubin Sultan says:

    Hi English Muse! I love your writing and would like to thank you for it with a little something in mail. You have my email address, send me your postal address I would be happy to send you something – snail mail style, yes!

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