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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v07n05)
Right in my Own Backyard - The Beauty of the Written Word - by Brandt Carter
posted: Mar. 05, 2010

Right in my Own Backyard header

The Beauty of the Written Word
Writing may be an endangered art. As I compose this biweekly column year after year, I continually fall in love with words, grammar, and the very process of conveying ideas and information. I frequently contemplate how writing will be regarded years from now. Will there be a paper trail of our lives?
I can go to one drawer in my file cabinet to find favorite written pieces I have saved. I have a note about a special birthday celebration from my mother. She is gone now, but her beautiful handwriting still evokes her loving spirit. Notes from my sister are bound by a ribbon. Her carefully penned letters (drafted on scrap paper and copied into final form) have relayed her life in colorful, vibrant detail. As a journalist, she has been a master at packing postcards with narratives.
I have cherished letters from my husband, for it is through notes and cards that our romance led to marriage. I have also kept some of his gracefully penned apologies after misunderstandings and a couple of fun IOUs on gifts to come. I have treasured letters from friends, cards from milestone birthdays, valentines to savor, and appreciative notes for the gift of a service dog and jobs well done. One of my most prized "keepers" is my granddaughter's first thank you note. She follows in her mother's steps by wanting to express gratitude in writing. This makes me happy!
Today, I wonder what thoughts and messages are being lost because technology is transforming our expression. Our ability to preserve our thoughts is challenged by a continuous succession of devices and software. What will be lost for the ages because our means of communicating keep changing so rapidly? This year some of the schools have stopped teaching cursive writing in favor of keyboard skills. English spelling is changing because of texting shortcuts. Goodness! Sometimes English looks like a foreign language.
My appeal to all who read this musing is take the time to write a letter. If you don't practice the art of writing, our drawers and attics will be empty and our life lessons, messages, opinions, and accounts of daily life will be gone if we don't express ourselves in a way that lasts. Take the time to express yourself in a sympathy, birthday, or anniversary card. That piece of paper can be read years from now, and your words may speak to someone far into the future.

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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