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massimousai@mac.com

We have much time to think and write.

We have much time to think and write.

You don’t need to be a great author. You just need to write it.

 


I’ve always been in love with written letters


London, July 2020

By Massimo Usai


There’s a certain romance with the written word. I started writing postcards when I was very young.
I could feel a kind of feeling just remember that time when I was writing and in particularly receiving postcards.
I remember to hold close to my heart what I received by post. Today isn’t anymore the same. You cannot hold an email or a text next to your body, and the gap of feeling between hold a phone with a beautiful text on and a letter with the same words probably will never sort it out.


I had, for a long time correspondence with a close friend. We started when he went to his military service, and we continue for almost ten years in different moments of our life.
I still have every single letter and when I took those letters out of the box contains those, I always have lovely emotions. My friend died a few years ago. He had enough of life, and in those letters, I could spot his changes of moods. He passes from a funny and creative boy to a man depress of life. Some delusions and probably few misunderstanding, transform his personality till the point to prefer to leave this planet in his own.


Something I feel I need to read those letters either if I know every single word write on. When I sit at my writing desk, or on the sofa, a cup of coffee to hand, with the box next to me and inside so many coloured envelopes I feel I want to take note in my writing pad.
Usually, some of my playlist on iTunes is playing in the background. So, that is the point that I start to write to my friends, family or on my blog.
I tell them, or to blog readers, the thoughts that are going through my head.
But since the virus hit, along with social distancing, my letter-writing is no longer restricted to personal though; I write stories most days.
I start to use the facility of the modern technology, like the “notes” on my iPhone, to write sometimes just a sentence, something that I know (or maybe not) one day I will take back. I will explore better and more in-depth.


It’s my way of cheering up my friends and my approach to document this strange existence that we find ourselves in. I must admit that I enjoy a lot.
I have so many letters and stories that been written in isolation, and I hope one day, I will show in some way.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com


I always think There’s a level of introspection needed when a letter is written; a certain amount of soul-searching is required. There’s still so much energy in the pause before pen hits paper as we search for words and meaning. It’s a magic moment, and I could stay 10-20 min waiting to start, and when I begin, I usually don’t stop till the end.
I have found this helpful at every uncertain time of my life. Write letters or notes help me to deal with anxiety and uncertainty. The pause before the start and the joy at the end of that exercise, it’s a moment that I need to face when I’m in difficult.
My brain scuttles around trying to find the right word and the correct description for what I’m feeling. This is like therapy – but not so much hard work.
I must admit that write letters, with a pen, still a great and different feeling that write emails and text messaging. Letters reveal and transfer so much more of us than the other forms of communication.


Every letter we write has an immaterial imprint of our whole being.
It Hosts our personal thoughts, fears and desires.
It really is our own signature in the end.


When I fly, I always have a small book notes with me, and I write all the time of the trip. I like to see words come out from my hands—all the swirls and curves created by my hand and finish in an empty page.
I write in Italian and in English, but the latest isn’t my language, and I learn by myself, slowly and without teachers. I still don’t have an extensive vocabulary and a great ability in English. Again, I don’t care too much to show my English knowledge in a letter or in a post.
Every time it’s to be an exercise. I feel that I improve if I still writing in English. If I stop and feel the shame of my English, I will never recover my gap. So I need it. It’s a challenge to myself. I know I will never be perfect but isn’t that the point to write.
I need to express myself, with words, in Italian or English, or sometimes with my photo camera. I’m not the best photographer in the world but isn’t (again) the point.
Once the letter is written and sealed in an envelope, the sketches of the functioning of my mind freeze, transported to the chosen recipient.


Sometimes it could be a letter or a picture send to a single person. Still, the sensation isn’t different when it shows public through a post or either in status on some social network.
I love to imagine that when the letter is open, part of me spill out of the envelope, and he (or she) could see my face, my expressions and remember the sound of my voice. I love the sensation to go onto the hands of the reader and inside his (or her) soul.

The same sensation and feeling I have when I receive a letter


Letter-writing or shoot picture is a gymnasium for the mind.

While I’m writing, I split out emotions and sweat out my fears.
For a moment, I feel I sort it out everything, I feel more secure and brave. Could be just a moment but it’s an important one.
We are all storytellers and narrators with a starring role in the end.


So to me, people should bring themselves to write a letter or to take a picture. Use your phone more for shoot pictures and write notes instead to chat on Facebook.
We cannot pretend to be Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgeralds, we need just to be us and don’t care too much if we don’t know how good we are in the research of words to impress the reader. We need to express emotions, and not all emotions in Arts come with significant technique. Sometimes the most prominent songs are simple songs, from people with not the perfect voice and just with a single line with a guitar– and that’s OK.

We’re not all born writers or photographers, and neither do we all want to be.


The only thing your letter or you picture demands of you is to be yourself. A letter or a post from you may not be a letter from a great writer, and that’s more than fine, as that’s not the criteria for being a letter writer. It’s really quite simple: just write, and I promise you that there’s nothing quite as pleasant as receiving a letter. It’s a small joyful moment, and that’s what the world is made of – a series of little joyful moments. Never underestimate the power of a single moment.
Recently I use a new technique to send a letter. After discovered in this pandemic time, the mails were travelling so slow. So I wrote a letter, I have to take a picture of it, and I send it by email by attachment.


Yes, it’s not the same, but I still get all the benefits of writing it.


Last but not least, I love to choose the paper where you want to write a letter on.

I discovered a shop recently here in town, with thounsded of pens, envelopes, paper, all different. A magical place that I would love to own. I don’t have an idea if it’s a profitable business, but I promise to myself if one day I will win the Lottery, I will open a shop like that. Just to smell the paper.


Massimo Usai
Massimo Usai

Associate of British Freelance Photography

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