The Power of Written Communication in a Technical Age
When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not a text, tweet or direct message with an emoji. When was the last time you sat down with pen and paper and told someone you loved them, or you missed?
The simple act of handwriting a letter can fundamentally impact who you are as a person and can affect society.
When his father passed away after a long complicated battle with diabetes, he still remembers the shrieking phone call he received from his mother. It was and still is the worst day of my life, but from that pain was born a legacy. My father had a mission to write letters for those people he cared the most about. He wrote 26 letters with one arm after the other had been amputated.
Three days later after the call, he stood in the cemetery with his brothers and handed out some of those letters to their intended recipients. He watched as they opened the envelope and saw his father’s name… he witnessed the impact.
Imagine it’s a Friday afternoon after a long and lonely week and someone walks to their mailbox. In between the junk mail and bills, they see an envelope. In the upper left hand corner they see your name. Imagine what their reaction will be.
Isn’t our mission as humans to evolve and not to de-evolve? Technology does not allow for intimacy. The intimacy of communication is what allows you to change. When you put pen to paper, you engage the left and right sides of the brain. You slow down, you contemplate, you reflect.
It’s not the quantity of the words you write, it’s the quality.
My father viewed his 26 letters as his memoir… his letter to the world. Ashley turned his father’s letters into a nonfiction work, co-authored by him and his father.
Letter writing is not dead. It is alive and breathing in the most unlikely places.
Ashley was invited to New York by the New York Letter Writing Society. He didn’t know what he was walking into and his imagination ran wild. What he found was a close and diverse group of people brought together by the love of letter writing.
Everyone has a letter writing story. Maybe it was summer camp, your first week of college or on your wedding day… everyone has s story.
What is your excuse for not writing letters? Time? Time is an interesting concept. If you don’t find time, time will find you.
After going through a box of photos in his basement, Ashley found an envelope that said “Ashley’s Graduation.” When he opened it, he found every card and letter he received when he graduated high school 30 years prior. At the bottom, there was a letter from his grandfather. The letter said what his grandfather thought of him as a child, and what he hoped for him as an adult. He cried and wept at the words his grandfather took the time to write. He was reintroduced to his grandfather in that moment.
The power of a handwritten letter is it can transcend generations and the impact can last for decades.
To whom will you write?
Ashley Davis was born the middle son to a preacher and a teacher, and spent his first years of life in the fields of Indiana, the coal mines of West Virginia, and the mountains of Virginia, finally settling in North Carolina by the time he was five. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a degree in English in 1991, he began a career in media and advertising, focusing intently on communication and relationships, vital disciplines passed down to him from his parents. Since leaving a corporate career in 2014, Ashley has continued to work in media and advertising, as well as real estate. He recently published his first work of non-fiction titled, A Life Through Letters. Devoted to community and charity, Ashley volunteers extensively. He finds great joy in his role as a father and lives in North Carolina with his wife and two boys.