Saturday, November 10, 2012

Near But Remote

"This is my letter to the world, /That never wrote to me..."--Emily Dickinson

"Erika Scheurer in her essay : Near, but Remote: Emily Dickinson's Epistolary Voice tells us that while Dickinson did not value writing over speech, she did value dialogic writing and speech over monologic writing and speech. A letter is also a more durable document than a spoken statement.'"-- from
An artist's interpretation of the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson in the World Wide Web
Do you get that message "I feel lucky" when you're entering a name, phrase or word in the search engine? 

Well, I've been getting that feeling a lot this week since I received two letters (my gosh! two! that's plenty!) this week from friends Arlene Esperida in Tokyo, Japan, and Mira Araos-Mariano from Florida, USA. 

Some weeks back Giselle Goloy sent a postcard from Australia taken from her stash of mementos from her last visit to Romania "where Dracula was born--or at least his inspiration (Vlad Tepes)." Giselle's card shows a photo of the Holy Trinity Fresco where the Holy Spirit is pictured as a woman. As the expression goes, "O, di ba?"

Mira's envelope was heavy from some photos she inserted  showing her and new husband Dino at their Grand Canyon trip ("Our many trips together have really made us closer"). 

The other picture shows them at the Cirque de Soleil's show "O" which included a sculpture exhibit of Richard McDonald. The young couple likes visiting museums. Now that is happy news to this blogger, who's their tita, and Mira's parents, Jerry and Melen.

Arlene's letters are always a treat--from the heavily textured envelope, stamps selected, drawings, rubber stamp markings, doodles to what she puts inside, e.g., pages of balita and enclosures (artist's trading cards, a subject I will blog about later).

My 10-year-old niece Bianca Susi and I were on-and-off pen pals when I was studying and living in Baguio. When she first received a letter from me, she asked her mom Pinky what those little rectangular "stickers" on the upper right-hand corner of the envelope were for. Pinky, a stamp collector, explained their purpose.

By the way, I was at the Makati Post Office yesterday morning to mail, oh, seven or eight letters that I had written the night before, and I saw this big tarp announcing that Christmas parcels and cards must be mailed by this month if they are to get to the addressees by December. So bring out your pen and start writing!

I love the convenience and ease of email and the availability of the Internet, especially when I'm composing an article. But my personal love lies in handwriting letters on cards and stationery that I've selected myself. I have a full box of stationery sheets in Pasig and another in Baguio that I inherited from my Singapore-based daughter Ida. Before she left, Ida said I should leave some pads and cards for her niece Kai who's only all of one year and seven months today. Never too early to make her scribble.

Arlene's last missive inspired me to tell my creative writing students at our next meeting to refresh their skills in something old-fashioned, letter writing using stamps, a very worthy activity  for keeping in touch from wherever they are in the summer of 2013.

Photos by Babeth Lolarga
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