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September 24, 2009



I am an inveterate article clipper. I constantly clip this or that and send it along with a note (I use correspondence cards and informals for this) that says, "I saw this and immediately thought you would enjoy it." I clip short stories from magazines. I clip comic strips from the newspaper. I clip recipes--just about anything really. It always brings a smile. Even if I miss, and the article isn't that new or interesting to the recipient, the thought really does count.


My mother taught me that I should always write a thank-you note after accepting someone's hospitality or a job interview, in addition to after receiving a gift. A little note can really cement a relationship - it's quite intimate. (A thank you e-mail is nice, but does not seem as thoughtful as a written note.)

3 x 5 cards are perfect for short notes as you describe - and accompanying 3 x 5 envelopes are the smallest mailable size. Perfect for thank-you notes.

D. Gouldin

Many of the most cherished moments in life and the best friends and most influential people in my life share my love of the written word and snail mail. I have boxes of letters from friends that I would never part with . . . words of love, wisdom, encouragement, and humor that could never be replaced by e-mail. Just as with vintage fountain pens and typewriters, these writings--from the shortest note written on a matchbook to the epistle that cemented a friendship in college that was booklet length, illustrated by hand, and mailed in a huge manila envelope--these writings have a scent and feel that nothing a computer produces could ever replace. There is so much more permanence in anything that comes by post. Try though I have, I cannot cull my collection of the words of my friends more closely than I already have. I considered scanning them and storing them electronically, but that would remove the tactile pleasure of holding them and smelling them and feeling the indention of the pen strokes, the blotches of a fountain pen, and the postmarks from exotic places they visited.

I heartily agree that the medium could be most anything . . . notecard, formal stationery, the margins of a newspaper, placemat, whatever is handy makes the note more unique and endearing.

And let me emphatically state that nothing the greeting card industry has ever devised replaces a handwritten, heartfelt letter of condolence in the loss of a loved one. For me, a stormy relationship with my mother ended in her death after an extended illness. The sweetest words anyone ever wrote to me followed her death and helped me to resolve my ill feelings toward her, putting our relationship into perfect perspective by pointing out how the writer felt about her. "We didn't always see eye-to-eye, but she meant well, and that is all that really matters."

Words of wisdom to cherish come in letters and that is all that really matters!

D. Smith

Okay, I'm in!

You inspired me to dig my old Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 149 from the back of the drawer, rinse it out and fill it with a fresh charge of ink. (From a bottle more than a dozen years old, though. I think I shall order some of the Levenger ink, in either Cobalt of Empyrean.)

To my delight, the old guy produced smooth, clean lines right away, and makes my handwriting far more legible than the scribble it has become. Then I found an old but unused rollerball refill to fit my Mont Blanc rollerball, went to Amazon to see if they stocked them (since Levenger does not) and gasped when I found out how much Mont Blancs go for these days.

(Your Golden Tortoise fountain pen is beautiful. I would love to have one with the stub nib.)

Thank you for your delightful reminder. I had forgotten how wonderful a fountain pen is. And how some of the best passages I ever wrote for publication were composed with one.

Myrna Lunn

My dear friend Leah is the Queen of notes..."thank you", "hi there", "love ya", "missing you" and my favorite, "wish you were here to share..."

I am always so happy when I go to the mail box and find an envelope with her name in the upper left corner!


This is great! So dead on and sharing it with everyone. It's so nice to get a handwritten note because you know someone took the time to write something in our fast-paced world. Thanks for sharing!

Pat McDermott

Sadly, I can't remember how long it has been since I received a handwritten letter (probably the last being from my paternal grandmother, gone now many years), but the occasional card or note is so rare and enjoyable that it would be a shame to let it share museum space with the passenger pigeon. For the sake of a civilized moment, pull out the pens and keep history going.

ted garrett

i love sending cards,bookmarks and other items through regular
mail. it really gives a feeling you cannot convey through email.

Melanie Evans

I love this post. I'm a huge fan of fountain pens (haven't tried a Levenger fountain yet.....I sort of need to choose those in person) and all things paper. It struck a cord when you said those of us 45 or so can remember when there wasn't email or texting.......that's so true....younger folks just won't remember that. I used to love writing to my Grandma and receiving her letters. Anywho....make no misteak (tee hee) there are still paper and pen-lovers out there!!! Thanks for your writings! Melanie

Timothy D. Beddow, MD

I have kept and cherish all of the handwritten notes, letters, and postcards from siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and now children. A treasure trove that brings with it warm memories, recreating events, trips, weeks and months of separation from family when away at school, when a brother was in the Army in Europe, parents travelling on business, children now in college and studying abroad. All of these handwritten, on the odd paper or even a napkin, matchbook cover, a German beer coaster! They're not catalogued, but they are all there in old shoe boxes, available for my perusal whenever I want. Pen and paper, any pen, any paper, a bit of postage, a bit of time, and then a lifelong keepsake!

James Kendall

Years ago I saw a colorful envelope arrive (sort of a salmon color)with an individuals return address. It was a handwritten invitation to a business holiday party. I realized I opened it because it caught my eye due to the color, it did not have a corporate return address and it had a stamp on it. I tracked down the maker of the envelopes, had some simple insert cards made up with my name on them and started sending them to clients and potential clients. The response has been phenomenal.

Dr. Joseph A. Bice-Jones

I store my supplies--pens, ink, different papers,Circa notebooks--mainly from Levenger in a desk I only use for writing, a drop down claw foot wonder. My desk looks out on the city skyline, excellent light. I find myself at my desk and writing is a meditative experience, and gives me a sense of creativity,and sharing with others. I enjoy living the ritual of hand written notes, and find people enjoy a hand written note to a text or email.

Jade Noik

Steve, this is such a wonderful post. I think about my grandmother Shu Shu’s letters. When we lived in South Africa, she would hand deliver them in her petrol blue Suzuki. Always on orange paper, rolled up and tied with orange string. She wrote in perfectly straight lines with no ruler, and used a black kokie (felt tip pen). Her handwriting was so beautiful. My mum kept all her letters for me – filled with stories about a fictional mouse named Longtail and his advice on entertaining, being a good host, and dealing with the constant threat of Kopje (the mountain cat). When we moved to Florida and I was 9, my grandmother was no longer a daily presence in my life. But her letters were, and they continue to be to this day.

Elizabeth Cottrell

Thank you for a piece that appeals to both heart and head! In my new Facebook Group (open to anyone) "Revive the art of personal note-writing!" (http://bit.ly/rJq9h), I am also trying to convey both the value of writing notes and letters as well as the importance of just making those personal connections. I'm going to share your post with the members. I hope you'll get some followers and customers from it.

Denise Tedaldi

I think the "dont' be afraid" comment is perfect for those who pine to put color or words on canvas or paper, but are intimidated by the space. Choose small canvases either to write on or paint and you will find the magic in putting yourself in the space. Choose the writing instrument that feels right (write), and more important, allows your thoughts to flow.It's the real deal in social networking. Enjoy.

Cindy Schroeder

Send Out Cards is perfect for this. No need to go to the post office for stamps. You can even import your own handwriting. Create custom cards from your computer and send out cards prints, stamps and mails them for you. Check it out at www.sendoutcards.com/brightcards . I have been using the theories talked about and have noticed that my referrals from current customers have increased.

Rodney Ogata

I like what you have to say!

"Beautiful cursive handwriting...is a lovely thing...it’s kind of like the ability to make your own flaky pie crusts or saw fine dovetail joints in your woodshop"

I like that though it matters to me. It's a huge part of the art of the handwritten letter for me.

"One of the nice things about coffee is the ritual of it—the stirring, the sipping, the cradling of mug in hand. Writing by hand can be much the same."

Nice...and doing both at together is even nicer!

I have a passion for all that you and Levenger stand for!


Yes, gone are the days when hand written letters were an essential tool of communications. The birth of electronic mail has resulted in people forgetting the importance of a hand written note.

Home decor guy

Mildred Armato

I have the handwritten note that my mother wrote to her sister when I was born. Written in pencil on the hospital paper it reads in part "Wed. 9:45 a.m. Dearest Jo and Baldwin Family. Writing in bed is rather uncomfortable and hard to read after being written - but I want to talk with you all just a little about our darling Mildred Dolores. She is two days old now - since 3:00 a.m. - looks so tiny - 6 pounds - has sleek black hair - regular round features and is real dumpy and short." That letter is 74 years old and one of my prize possessions. And note she writes "want to TALK with you"...etc.

Steve Leveen

Thanks you, dear commenters, one and all, for these glorious experiences and ideas you have shared with us. You made me cry and make me want to pick up my pen and write some notes right now.

And thanks for the reminder about the importance of place. That is, how very nice it can be, if you have the space, to set aside a writing desk or area that you stock with your writing papers and pens and use to transform your outlook as you slow way down and take pen to paper.

Most of all, thank you for the handwritten notes we've already received. They are going up on a bulletin board at Levenger HQ to inspire our own staff.

Look forward to our further correspondence, my friends, and thanks to each of you for the grand and important human tradition you are keeping alive, one letter at a time.


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Bruce Klaiss

I actually do a lot more writing than above, but it's not for sending notes to people, sadly. I write fiction for enjoyment, and I write the stories out in longhand in Moleskine or ecosystem notebooks before I transcribe them onto the computer. Professional writers would stare at me, aghast. It just makes me write better!

Patricia Cline

Writing makes obvious statements and usually the sloppiness is noted first by me. I made every effort to pen the neatest notes possible, and handwriting became my favorite pastime with every fountain pen I could scrape up.
Beginning each page with Scripture, I have handwritten day by day for over 30 years the day's events with family, church and current events & world news.

Patricia Cline

Born into a family of 6 children, I was introduced early to the way that "that's not the way I heard it" - spawned knock- down arguments. Early on I decided I would make it a habit to tell exactly what happened or keep my wide open mouth shut. I began keeping notes at around age 8, sad to say all of the notebooks that were so precious to me lost in a basement flood. I have all of the 30 years in 3-ring binders and clear plastic boxes - all in order. Ancestry.com is where I find more and more time to look back and hold onto so many of the prayed about and answered blessings.

Shannon W. Frey

I too love this blog. I have an experience that I will share with you that always make me happy and I hope brings a smile to other faces as well. My late aunt grew up in the Great Depression and had a pretty difficult childhood. When she grew up she became quit frugal, as she did not want to endure the hardships she had as a child. One of her many jobs was cleaning people’s houses and local businesses’ office spaces. She would often “collect” the items that people would throw out. After she passed away, I was at her estate auction helping her children out with the sale. At the end of the day we were wrapping things up, throwing things out that did not sell or were just left in the house for disposal. As I picked up a box to be thrown away, I noticed a big stack of stationery from businesses in town had probably thrown away and my aunt saved. There were probably 200 sheets of fresh stationery from a dozen or so businesses. The sheets were 1950’s or so vintage and had beautiful lettering and illustrations, many in color. I saved them since I love to send notes to people and thought they were beautiful and interesting as well. They are like a mini time capsule of the town where she grew up. Most of the phone numbers were only 5 digits in length! I began to write to my relatives on the stationery. Most of them had drifted away from the area and settled many miles away. I got lots of comments back stating that they remembered doing business with the companies whose stationery I was now using; some had even been employed by the various companies. When asked where I got the paper, I recounted the story of how it was acquired. Not only did they remind them of the town they grew up in, it was also a little reminder and tribute to my aunt. Thanks for reading and I hope it gives someone else an idea!

Submitted with many fond memories,

Shannon W. Frey

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