National Card and Letter Writing Month Concludes, Vol. 17, Issue 24

National Card and Letter Writing Month, begun by Etiquetteer with such ambitious plans to observe it, comes to a close tomorrow. Frankly and candidly, it's going out with a whimper and not with a bang. As with any worthwhile project, daily discipline makes all the difference, and . . . well, you might say Etiquetteer paved the Road to Hell with good stationery this month.

Of course this just underscores the Crisis of Perfect Propriety we're all enduring (creating?). Handwritten communications, once basic because there was no other way, have now been relegated by Efficiency into the realm of what is considered Gracious but Optional Because Inefficient. The situation reminds Etiquetteer of what Marlene Dietrich said about elegance, something about people not even missing something essential if they aren't taught about it*.

Has Etiquetteer sent any handwritten correspondence during this dedicated month? A couple Letters of Condolence (so essential to be written by hand), a couple "thinking of you" postcards, a couple Lovely Notes of Thanks (and more still to be written after a Marvelous Party last night.) Far from the "Postcard a Day" pledge! The particular failing emphasizes the need to create the daily routine necessary for something one considers important. Etiquetteer has never believed that "Oh, it's just five minutes" sort of thing. (If you knew how much time Etiquetter spent trying to find that Marlene Dietrich quotation . . .) Ten minutes, however, is not unreasonable, assuming you know your correspondent's mailing address already. Designating a place to write at home makes a difference, too. It doesn't have to be an old-fashioned escritoire (though that helps). It doesn't even have to be a desk! It can be a corner of your dining-room table to which you bring your box of stationery and stamps.

So, let's not give up just yet, but redouble our efforts in the month of May to spread Perfect Propriety through the mails.

*If you happen to know the source of this quotation, please share. A diligent search reveals much of interest, but not this.