Letters of Note

I love a good, random blog.

11 Points and Thought Catalog have been my two favorites for a while.  Letters of Note is quickly catching up, and it’s a good follow on Twitter too.

The premise is simple. The site’s curator, Shaun Usher, compiles letters and posts the original missives online, most of which come from famous authors, politicians, and other celebrities of old.

I think my infatuation has to do with nostalgia – even if it’s for a past I didn’t live in. People wrote letters in a simpler time. They didn’t take shortcuts, spelled correctly, and used proper grammar. I’m the kind of person who will judge you harshly for doing any of the above. There, their, they’re: come on, people. Ur? Would it have taken you much too long to type the “yo?” On the surface, these reasons alone are enough. But why I really love letters is because they’re so much more personal. Especially when they’re hand-written, it’s catching a glimpse into the author’s personality. Even when they aren’t, letters like these hearken back to a time when people thought carefully about what they said and how others received it

In short, letters are just fascinating. A few of my favorites are below:

“This is my son. He speaks Greek.” – a letter to future billionaire and founder of CNN, Ted Turner, from his father. As a high school student at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, I took not one, but two dead languages: Latin and Homeric Greek; so I can appreciate Ted Turner’s adoption of the classics as a course of study, and even more so, the odd reaction of others when they learn of it.

“The Novel is a Wonder.” – an exchange between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his editor regarding an early draft of his novel, The Great Gatsby.  I’ll be the first to admit that I have Gatsby fever. I loved the book in high school; and come on, it’s Leonardo DiCaprio. This exchange is great because you never think about the doubt authors must have before they publish a novel, and most likely, you never think about the process that must occur before you get cozy with your book and a nice cup of tea.

Speaking of tea, this next letter came from a Letters of Note tweet. Ed Holden, before studying abroad in London in 1995, penned an email to author Douglas Adams asking for a few pieces of advice on life in the UK. Adams replied with an essay answering Holden’s questions and giving the American a piece of his mind regarding Brits’ infatuation with tea. As a tea lover myself, I’m excited to take his advice.

Anyway, you see the point. If you like Letters of Note as much as I do, you’ll probably enjoy Shaun Usher’s other blog, Letterheady, which exhibits some awesome antique letterhead. Yes, I am a nerd.

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