There’s A Letter Inside Us All
By Hannah Laker
I have never met my neighbours. Occasionally I hear Flat 2 pottering around downstairs or the sound of Flat 8’s washing machine spinning through the wall. Sometimes I catch a few notes of Flat 3’s interesting music taste (I’m talking Kid Rock at 8am) through the ceiling. But none of us have ever spoken.
Perhaps this is why I was maybe a little quick to blame any, or all, of my neighbours for the disappearance of my recent Argos delivery (two gold-chrome lamps) from our communal lobby a few weeks ago. Cue eight rapidly written notes on torn off scraps of paper stuffed into each neighbour’s post box. I was polite but assertive: basically, where is my parcel?
I’m not sure if I really expected a response; I kind of just wanted my lamps back. What I definitely did not expect was to receive, over the next few days, several handwritten notes tucked into my own post box. Some detailed the same experience and frustrations; others suggested a strongly worded email to management that I didn’t ever get round to sending. Some just said hello and that they were sorry for my predicament. And some just said good luck. All were signed off by the particular flat in which each different author lived. No names, just numbers. I think one even ended with a kiss.
While the circumstances were less than ideal, something about receiving these little handwritten letters brought a lot of joy into my life over that next week or so. Knowing that a person actually sat down to write to me, on their own little scrap of paper, instantly brought a sense of connection that an email or text just can’t provide. It was heart-warming, in a way, to know that my neighbours cared enough to respond, and even send good wishes, though none of us had ever really spoken.
This is why letter writing is still so important in today’s world. While most of life is going digital, the connection you feel with a personalised letter is second to none.
I think it is safe to say there is a letter inside all of us, so why not give it a go and write one to The Letters Page? We take all forms of writing, including poetry, short story, essay or memoir. We would even love to read passive-aggressive notes about missing packages. Write us anything you wish, but please just ensure it is in the form of a handwritten letter.
Find more on our submission guidelines here. We can’t wait to read what you come up with!
The Letters Page team are back in the office, and ready to read your real letters again. We publish stories, essays, poems, memoir, reportage, criticism, recipes, travelogue, and any hybrid forms, so long as they come to us in the form of a letter. We are looking for writers of all nationalities and ages, both established and emerging.
Your letter must be sent in the post, to :
The Letters Page, School of English, University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK.
See our submissions page for more information.
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