Letters From the Home Front


Writing letters has become unfashionable, passé, archaic. This form of communication has been replaced by a telephone in one’s pocket, often spoken or tersely texted. Via email if one needs to be verbose. How will our biographies ever be written? Imagine the details of Gandhi’s life recorded from such enticing communications as “‘sup?” Letters found in a drawer were the conerstone of treasured information reflecting the activity and emotion of a life. I mourn their passing.

That’s why I write my blog in the form of a letter. I couldn’t, as a neophyte of all things electronic, imagine where all the information about one’s life through electronic dispatch would be found years from now. Mine is tidily stored in The Library of Congress, though I doubt anyone in the future would care to distill my life story from this silly blog. It’s not me I’m thinking of when I wonder how stories of great lives will be written in the next century or even the back half of this one. Online communication seems so fleeting in the grand scale of history. And…considering I can no longer watch a VHS tape, future historians may lack the outdated mode of retrieval for such information, rendering it indecipherable a hundred years from now.

Letters from the past seem to be much more intimate than any other form of writing. Besides the fact that they were, at one time, the private missives of the writer and receiver, that is exactly what we want to learn about famous people. Not just the nuts and bolts of what made them famous, but the day to day thoughts and emotions that created an interesting life. Most of the biographies I’ve enjoyed have some imput from the correspondence written by their subject.

Now that I’ve been scribbling away at this blog for five years, I find my available writing time is waning. My posts have been about what’s happening in my life and what I think about the world around me, much as I would tell a friend. The catch is that the more I’m doing, the more fodder for my blog, but the less time to actually sit down and write about it. Being chained to my computer is a double-edged sword. I hate to sit so long but I need to write stuff out while it’s fresh in my head. The internal circus has something of a shorter shelf life these days, like a tasty loaf of bread that molders on the countertop after I’ve run out of peanut butter.

Scratching out a story every week has become too much like a job and I have had a lifetime of those. I have decided to write when I feel like it and I have something magnificent to say…well, perhaps not that high of a standard, more like when I have something amusing, disgusting or simply laughable to say. That should cover my erstwhile ramblings and provide a good guideline for commiting to future endeavors. I’ll keep going at my own pace and see what happens.

In the meantime, I belong to an awesome writers group. Our official name is Asheville Women Writers Co-operative, but we call ourselves the Scribble Sisters. Our meetings are part kaffeeklatsch, part therapy, all held to the high standard of the Vegas Rule (what’s written here, stays here). We write from simple prompts and share our scribblings with each other. I am always amazed at how minds work and find joy in our different approaches to a single subject. When I am ready to try my hand at something other than an Ethel work, I will post it on our newly minted blogsite. I will keep you informed of our inaugural post. It will be soon.

My wish is that people will start writing letters again, but knowing how busy folks are, I doubt this will once again become a thing. If you decide to take on that task, you will surely surprise the one you send it to! I hope it’s me!! Include a real picture or some little scrap of original artwork and your recipient will save it for posterity, even though posterity may not give a crap about what came before them. History will either be learned from or completely forgotten, as so much of it is these days. Let’s put a dent in that.




  1. Well done Cheryl. Grateful.

  2. Ah…. Letters….. writing….. out of my scope right now! I wrote a lot in my younger days, before kids and a bit after…. But life got crazy and terrible and sorted itself out …. And then sickness overtakes a grandchild and I find that I don’t find/make time to write-but tiny sentences or fragments here.

    Miss you.

  3. I love your delightful so-called scribblings – thank you for all the entertainment and education thus far – of course you should write at your own pace, but please don’t forget your devoted fans 🙂

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