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Last week a book I had requested from the public library on letter writing waaaaaay back in February that was checked out at that time and then made its way to billed and me figuring I would never see it but just out of curiosity left it on my hold list anyway, well that book finally arrived.

The Art of the Personal Letter: A Guide to Connecting Through the Written Word by Margaret Shepherd is pretty much like most books about writing letters. There is a whole section on how to write love letters and break up letters, condolence letters, apology letters, thank you letters, etc. What Shepherd does that none of the other modern day letter books do is she doesn’t get all romantic and dreamy and wish for the good old days. Nor does she insist that a hand written letter is the only kind of letter anyone worth anything would ever dare send. She plunges right in and suggests that the format and medium should match the intent. She discusses what kind of communication is best suited to email and how to write a good email. I liked that.

When it comes to actually mailing a letter she covers things like paper selection and how the paper you choose to write on makes an impression. Likewise a person’s choice of writing implement. She even talks about making a pleasant place to write letters. That made me look up and notice what a mess my desk is and inspired me to clean it. Even my Bookman was dazzled by how tidy it looks. I still have a little corner that has a small pile of things that I have to do, my “in box” corner, and then my desk is fantastically spacious and lovely. Even with my in box corner there is room for a cat to stretch out and not be in the way. This, however, doesn’t matter to Waldo who loves to snuggle and be in the middle of things. I was writing a thank you letter to a friend yesterday and Waldo had to “help” by laying down in the middle of it and trying to eat my pen.

Overall it is a nice little book. A pleasant way to spend an afternoon dreaming about writing beautiful missives and receiving beautiful ones in return. My mailbox and I are very happy thanks to my letter-writing friends (you know who you are!). I can’t say enough how wonderful it is to sort through the junk and the bills to find a letter. So even though these books like Shepherd’s tend to all be very much alike, they are still fun to read because they are energizing and remind me why I like sending and receiving letters so much.