How do you best communicate? Today we have so many options. There are the social networks like Facebook and Twitter, websites and blogs, like the one you are reading right now. But there are many others ways – books, kindles, texting, or phone calls. And let’s not forget about the old fashioned ways – like talking to each other face-to-face or writing letters. Remember that?? — where you sit down and actually use your hand and a pen to write down your thoughts on paper?
I’ve been making a concerted effort most recently to use that “old” way of communicating by writing notes and letters to family and friends. For instance, I like to write to my Aunt Sophie. She will be 90 tomorrow – November 9 – and writing is just the natural way to communicate with her. Thank goodness for Aunt Sophie for she keeps me in touch with the old fashioned, but ever elegant way of communicating. It keeps my penmanship in check. Now there’s a word you don’t hear often these days. Penmanship. They used to actually teach that in schools – yes, kids, penmanship
Writing a letter also gets me to slow down my thought process a bit. I have a habit of thinking and talking way too fast – moving from one idea to the next at an alarming pace. I know this can often frustrate my listener. Just ask my husband!
But when you have to take the time to write down the message you are trying to convey, you are forced to slow down and focus on each word. This can be a good thing. You might respond, “I just don’t have time for that.” Well, I believe we can make the time to slow our lives and our ways of communicating just a bit and bring back courtesy and etiquette.
I challenge you to try it. The next time you owe someone a “thank you” for a gift or something they did for you, try the lost courtesy of a handwritten thank you note. And write out the envelope too – don’t run the envelope through the printer with that address that you have saved in your address book. I promise you there is something about doing this by hand that will relax you as you really think about each word that you are writing.
Often you just happen upon something due to a domino effect. That happened to me in recent months. I am an avid reader of fiction of all types, but am primarily a dedicated fan of the classics, and so have always been intrigued with the books of Jane Austen. Although an avid reader of these novels, sometimes it is tempting to look at the movies that have been made and remade in recent years. Often doing both helps you understand the story. The old British authors can sometime be hard to read and comprehend.
For instance Pride and Prejudice may be enjoyed in several versions, including an oldie-but-goodie versions from 1940 with Laurence Olivier (before he was a “Sir”). This version is somewhat comical. The costumes used were actually left over from Gone With The Wind and are totally out of their period. That might only occur to someone who has seen the BBC version starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle (by far the best version and closest to the book). For my tastes, the newest version starring Keira Knightley is somewhat lacking in storyline.
Okay, now back to the BBC version. One of the most outstanding actors in this group of films is by far, Colin Firth. Besides being rather good looking, he is also a great actor and was born to play Mr. Darcy. It is this portrayal that led to my interest in Colin Firth as an actor. One day I picked up a movie called Girl With A Pearl Earring at a bargain price. I saw that Firth was one of the actors and thought I’d give it a shot. The movie is a bit cryptic, which encouraged me to find the book that is the basis for the story to help me fill in the blanks.
That book has led to my discovery of a brilliant author Tracey Chevalier. Girl was her first novel. A reading of the book makes the movie much easier to understand. But as I explored her other books, I discovered a true admiration for this amazing author. She is able to weave together history with the stories of the most interesting present-day characters, threading everything together in a most impressive fashion. So whether you are interested in history as relates to societal customs, or just want to read some good books, be sure to check out her website or find her on Twitter.
For more on Austen and the recent publicaton of her original manuscripts online see my previous post below