The Lost Art of E-Mail

A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.
— Jane Austen

I've been corresponding recently with a friend in the US over e-mail, and as it's the only reliable form of contact we have the e-mails tend to be a little more verbose than I am used to writing. In fact, I've noticed that the majority of e-mails I've written in the last however-long are a couple of sentences; short, concise, adequate. Really, the e-mail has become something more alike to a text message.

My friend is currently awaiting a response, and I've been taking my time getting started in order to think over what I want to tell him. A few sentences, a platitude and well-wishes are simply not enough. There's a gravity to the exchange, an understanding that it is a conversation rather than a short, informative message. Suddenly it feels like a big deal. The last time I wrote something of this significance and weight was when I sent some friends overseas actual paper letters a couple of years back (which was a lot of fun and something I should consider doing again soon).

There's a pleasure to it too, and a beauty to a page of paragraphs that I certainly don't get to experience in day to day work amidst lines of code and tables full of values. It hadn't occurred to me that I've missed it.