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      Why It’s Time to Revive the Vanishing Art of Letter Writing
      發布時間:2018年12月01日     陳雨歡 譯  
      來源: 英語世界
      字號 簡體 繁體 打印

      Why It’s Time to Revive the Vanishing Art of Letter Writing


      Five years ago, Jodi Ann Bickley[1] pledged to write one million lovely letters to people across the world. She reveals how her journey with Cunard, which has delivered mail for nearly 180 years, provided both time and inspiration to put pen to paper.

      五年前,喬迪·安·比克利許諾要寫100萬封愛的信,送給世界各地的人們。她講述了自己的冠達郵輪之旅如何為她寫信提供時間和靈感,而冠達已為世人傳遞信件近180 年。

      By Nigel Kendall


      “Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls / For thus, friends absent speak.” The poet John Donne[2] wrote these words nearly 400 years ago to the author and diplomat Sir Henry Wotton[3]. Today, in the age of instant text messaging, social media and email, they ring truer than ever, because the writing or receiving of a real letter has become such a rare event.


      [1] 喬迪·安·比克利,來自英國第二大城市伯明翰,16歲罹患暴食癥,21歲被壁虱叮咬感染腦炎,留下小中風后遺癥,飽受抑郁癥折磨。2013年年初,發現寫信不僅能幫助別人,也能讓她感到被需要。后來集結信件出書,并非為了賺錢,只是想湊出媽媽旅行的費用,以及購置以后寄信的郵票。


      [2] 約翰·多恩(1572—1631),英國詩人,17世紀“玄學派”代表,作品以愛情詩、宗教詩為主,多神學、哲學的思辨,打破了當時甜蜜華麗的抒情詩風。


      [3] 亨利·沃頓爵士(1568—1639),出生于英國肯特郡博克頓豪爾,曾就讀溫徹斯特大學與牛津大學,1623年被任命為伊頓學院院長。曾發表過一些散文作品,不過文學聲譽主要限于詩歌短章,思想高貴,有超凡脫俗的表現力。

      A UK-wide survey undertaken by Cunard and Sunday Times Style suggests that one in four of us has not received a written letter for at least 10 years. That’s 10 years without the bitter-sweet pleasure of pacing the floor waiting for the postman; 10 years without recognizing the handwriting on an envelope and eagerly tearing it asunder to reveal its contents; and 10 years without the physical proof that someone cares enough about you to create a one-off work of art for your enjoyment.


      We may not get them any more, but we still love handwritten letters: in the same survey, one third of British people said they remember the content of sentimental letters.


      “As I get older,” says John O’Connell, author of For the Love of Letters: The Joy of Slow Communication, “and friends and family die off, physical letters feel like holy relics – little pieces left behind. We have this idea that our digital footprints will stick around forever, and in a sense they will. But how accessible will they be? There are emails I sent 15 years ago that I’d love to see again but I have no idea how to get hold of them.” Shouldn’t we all make time to give our friends and family something they’ll treasure forever?

      《書信吾愛:慢遞的喜悅》一書的作者約翰·奧康奈爾說:“當我年紀漸長,親友相繼離世,他們遺留的信件就如同圣物——僅有只言片語。一直認為數字化記錄可以永久保存,某種意義上也的確如此??墒?,想看就能看到嗎?我想再看看15 年前自己寫的電郵,但不知如何尋得到?!彪y道我們不應花些時間,為親友送上一份能永久珍藏的東西嗎?

      Jodi Ann Bickley certainly thinks so. In 2013, the-then 24-year-old Bickley set out to inject a dose of warmth into peoples’ lives. She went online and offered to handwrite a letter to anyone who contacted her. Her website received 50,000 visitors in its first three months.



      Five years later, she is still the main force behind, and has personally written 4,000 letters offering hope, support and comfort to strangers since. In recognition of her contribution to letter writing, she was invited on board Cunard’s ship, RMS Queen Mary 2, where she found the quality of service and her surroundings conducive to her craft.


      On recount of her experience, being at sea with Cunard gives you time to reflect, to breathe in the fresh air, gaze out at the wide-open views, and put pen to paper in luxurious surroundings. Cunard has been delivering mail for nearly 180 years and has inspired generations of writers. Charles Dickens recorded his voyage on board the RMS Britannia in 1842, while in 2017 singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran created parts of his ÷ (Divide) album on board the Cunard flagship RMS Queen Mary 2. She also has a red Royal Mail letterbox where guests can post their postcards and letters to loved ones as they travel the world.

      她描述說,當郵輪行駛海上,人們有充足時間思考,呼吸清新空氣,眺望開闊海景,在豪華環境中執筆。冠達郵輪傳送信件已將近180年,激發了好幾代作家的創作靈感。小說家查爾斯·狄更斯記錄了他1842 年乘坐冠達郵輪“不列顛號”航行的經歷,創作歌手艾德·希蘭則于2017 年在冠達郵輪旗艦“瑪麗皇后2號”上創作了專輯《÷》中的部分作品。此外,“瑪麗皇后2號”設有一個紅色的皇家郵政郵筒,乘客可在游歷世界之時給所愛之人寄去明信片與信件。

      Letters weave their spell on the writer as much as the recipient. “The only time I ever truly relax is when I sit down to write a letter,” Bickley says. “Making the time to take a pen in your hand and write – I see it as a type of mindfulness.”


      The survey also suggests that one third of us are put off the idea of writing a letter by a lack of confidence about structure. How much does Bickley plan ahead? Does she have a formula? “No. I literally never draft a letter. I think when you write something down for the first time, that’s often the one with the most feeling in it. If I start a letter and I can’t write it, I never want it to seem forced, so I stop and return to it later.”


      The thought behind a letter matters just as much as its content. “I never tell anyone that everything’s going to be OK, because I can’t know that,” says Bickley. “I am letting someone know that there’s someone in the world who cares about them.”


      Who wouldn’t love to receive a letter like that? Let’s get writing.