Receiving more letters than usual during the UK experience of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has continued, rather than decreased. According to my local postman, this is discernible across the quite large area that the local postal depot covers. Confirmation that this is a more general phenomenon comes from a short article on the BBC news app, Letter-writing: connection in disconnected times, that there is something about letter-writing that is appealing to people in current circumstances of enforced separation, even where this does not also involve distance in more than a ‘protection against coronavirus infections’ lockdown sense. That is, such distance can cover someone in the next house or street and not just long physical distances apart. But why might this be so?

Among the reasons heard and read for this are that letter-writing is a more personal form of communication than electronic ones such as email or text or Facebook posts etc, and that it makes for more of a sense of connection. The perception is that more time and thought goes into letter-writing by comparison – drawing often on the person’s own experience, as well as best-guessing that of the writer, taken not just from the content but also from the letter itself. It is taking the time to actually write the thing that gives letter-writing an edge, for this is seen to go hand-in-hand with giving it more thought. Other things mentioned in this respect include that letters provide not only more detail but more everyday kinds of things that convey the writer and their activities. The sense of connection engendered through this seemingly comes not from the expectation of response and so correspondence, but is instead about the reaching out that a letter signifies.

Only connect.

Last updated: 21 May 2020