WHO’S THE TYPIST BEHIND THIS BLOG?
I’m lucky. I’ve got major ADHD but I don’t suffer from “thank you note phobia” – if anything, I love letter-writing. I have plenty of other fears, but pounding out a note isn’t one.
I’m not a calm person, generally. I’m high-strung. Energetic. A lifelong insomniac who quiets my head with correspondence. The faster my fingers go, the calmer I become. Other techniques failed me. Transcendental Meditation – I forgot my mantra. I don’t understand how to breathe. As a child of a Holocaust survivor, I’m in perpetual “fight or flight”. Only when I roll a paper (not that kind!) into my typewriter do I truly exhale.
I equate letters with love. I felt adored as a little girl when I opened a special note from Granddaddy Al, sprinkled with Capitalized Verbs and Funny Adjectives. We corresponded religiously, and my final card was on his bedside table right before he died. It made me sad to see him go, but I was happy we shared so many sentences over the years.
I still feel “seen” when someone affixes a stamp to an envelope and mails me their thoughts. A text or call is great, but a letter – more than a diamond – really does last forever.
So I send messengers of gratitude. A pin-point of light in an often evil world. Thanks to Daniel, who rolls out our trash bins in morning darkness. To Ermanno, who fixes my beloved typewriter. To Cate, my youngest pen-pal (age 6) for a puzzle with her drawings on it.
There are always moments of grace I can capture, if I’m inspired. For Don, the busy recruiter who patiently answers questions about a career change. For Vivian, who comes out of retirement to knit me a lavender cashmere scarf. For Stephen, a colleague from an earlier life, “Congrats” on his Emmy.
I write quickly, like a sketch artist capturing a 20-minute nude pose. First draft, final draft. I don’t agonize if it’s not perfect. I’ve wasted too much time trying to get things right in my life, and I won’t do it here. Get it out. Etiquette says a “thank you” should be hand-written, but ‘something is better than nothing’ – so I type them because I do 110 words a minute and my handwriting’s gone to s—, anyway.
Some days I put ten or more notes in outgoing mail. I joke “I’m trying to keep the US Post Office alive”. But the truth is, the more I write, the calmer my head. Notes expand my world. Help me think and reflect. Transmit my gratitude. A thank you is as much for me as for you. But most importantly, it says:
If you get a letter from me, know you are loved.