By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

The people in my generation, growing up in an age where the typewriter was more of a business machine than something everyone had at home, communicated using letters written by hand. Long distance phone calls were obscenely expensive and were something reserved for short conversations during emergencies or family events such as birthdays.

In those days, everyone communicated by personal letters, which were almost all handwritten. This kept the sharing of information at a snail’s pace, since a letter to my grandmother in South Carolina would take a week to arrive by air mail or a month by sea mail. Even the most avid letter writer would have a cycle of close to a week for close distance correspondence (which is a noun which is dying in its original meaning of “exchanging communication through letters”).

The modern age with its instant e-mail, voice and video communications is extremely convenient, but it has come at the expense of the loss of the personal feeling and anticipation that handwritten letters provided.

Writing a letter involved a lot of care, since most were written in ink and there’s no delete key for a ball point or fountain pen. Once you wrote something on your stationery, it usually stayed there since there are no “copy to clipboard” and “paste” elsewhere functions in handwriting.

When you finished, you’d have to place what you wrote in an envelope, address and stamp it and take it to the post office to mail it out. Letters were quite an ordeal. Still, that’s what made them very special. When you got a handwritten letter, you’d look at the writing and subconsciously search for any abnormalities that might indicate changes in the writer’s health or frame of mind. You automatically knew how much trouble it was to write and post a letter and felt a sense of appreciation towards the person for taking the time to write to you.

Unfortunately, this is something that has almost disappeared in our modern 21st Century civilization. Given that many schools in the US have abandoned teaching students the cursive writing that forms the base of personal letters, it will soon be an extinct skill. Too bad!









English books by Billy Hammond published by AELS



I. Majoh Gakuin and Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools Trilogy

1. Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools

2. Lost Witch (The second book)

3. Fate & Magic (The final book in the trilogy)

II. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire Trilogy

1. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire

2. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Returns

3. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Challenges (The final book in the trilogy)

III. Fantasy fiction set in Japan

1. 21st Century Ninja

2. Regressed

3. Japanese Woman

IV. Fantasy fiction set outside of Japan

1. Dimension Jumpers