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Letters & Journals on The Point with Mindy Todd

Today’s show featured published letters and journals. If you missed the show you can always listen tonight at 7:30 p.m. on WCAI or try the podcast on WCAI’s web page at www.capeandislands.org.

Emily Post wrote in her Etiquette book in 1922: “The art of general letter-writing in the present day is shrinking until the letter threatens to become a telegram, a telephone message, a post-card.”

As quoted in : For the Love of Letters: a 21st-century guide to the art of letter writing by Samara O’Shea.

“Look around, and see innumerable women, to whose barren and loveless lives this would be improvement and solace, and I say to them, write! … write! It will be a safe outlet for thoughts and feelings that maybe the nearest friend you have has never dreamed had place in your heart and brain … it is not safe for the women of 1867 to shut down so much that cries out for sympathy and expression, because life is such a maelstrom of business or folly or both, that those to whom they have bound themselves, body and soul, recognize only the needs of the former … One of these days, when that diary is found, when the hand that penned it shall be dust, with what amazement and remorse will many a husband, or father, exclaim, I never knew my wife, or my child, till this moment.”

Fanny Fern

Jill’s Ten Lessons for Learning How to Write a Letter (This is the bare bones version!)

1.  Turn off your computer.
2. Write a postcard.
3. Read a letter (there are many wonderful collections of published letters).
4. Buy a pen (preferably a fountain pen).
5. Send a greeting card to a friend or relative.
6. Try typing a letter on a piece of scrap paper. (Can’t find a typewriter? You can cheat by finding a computer with a typewriter font.)
7. Travel. I have found that letter writing is greatly enhanced by traveling alone. If no immediate travel plans, go to a local coffee shop.
8. Buy stamps. (For stamp inspiration look at The World of Donald Evans.)
9. Buy stationary.
10. Write a letter.

Jill’s Picks

Floating Worlds: the letters of Edward Gorey & Peter F. Neumeyer, edited by Peter F. Neumeyer

Yours Ever: people and their letters by Thomas Mallon

The Element of Lavishness: letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner & William Maxwell , 1938-1978, edited by Michael Steinman

The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

New York Diaries: 1609 – 2009 edited by Teresa Carpenter

A Book of One’s Own: people and their diaries by Thomas Mallon

Not enough time for:

Carrington : letters and extracts from her diaries , chosen by David Garnett

The Freud/Jung Letters: the correspondence between Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung edited by William McGuire (If you have seen the movie A Dangerous Method you will want to read letters 134F, 144J, and 148J!

Melanie’s Picks

Reagan: A Life in Letters edited by Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson

My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams edited by Margaret Hogan and C. James Taylor

The Letters of Noel Coward edited by Barry Day

Conversations With Myself by Nelson Mandela

The Reagan Diaries edited by Douglas Brinkley

The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens edited by Jenny Hartley

Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1959 - 1974 edited by Bill Morgan (FPL owns the first volume of letters: The Letters of William S. Burroughs: 1945 - 1959. We’ll order the 2nd volume.)

Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation selected and edited by Ellen Fitzpatrick

Listener Picks

On the library Facebook Page we got some diary and letter suggestions. Here they are:

Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, Henry James, and Edith Wharton.

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