"Belle-lettres" is a borrowed English word from French, and I'm going to pretend it doesn't essentially mean "literature" and that it means "beautiful letters" because hey I want to talk about letters, similarly, I suppose, to how Brendan talked about vinyl records.
Really, what happened to letters? Technology, I guess, but technology can't stop my complaining. In fact, as you can see on your screens, it only makes it easier for me.
Letters, to me, are far and away the coolest mode of communication. It's the perfect bridge between finely crafted art and standard communication. It's really the only place where the two come together that I can think of, besides on the Facebook statuses of emotionally charged high school girls and, more hilariously, boys. Letters are pretty much the only venue outside reporting other people's quotes for newspapers where you can sound as upscale as you want without sounding like a dickbag. No, instead you come off as sophisticated, because really, who are you honestly trying to impress, besides the one person your letter is to?
What else do letters do? Letters are tangible, one of the few tangible things we still have left, if you can categorize letters as "left." You can hold them in your hand. Man, that's weird that I can use that to sell something. 2011 really kind of sucks sometimes. What else? Well, of course Facebook saves all your messages and chats and all that, and you have an email history, and I'm pretty sure smartphones save texts from before cell phones were invented, but who actually checks that inventory? Letters will pop out as you desperately search for official important documents among your stacks of loose papers, and soon they'll have you rolling in the beloved past, your official important engagements all but forgotten. It can kind of kind of serve as a record of events, or a timeline of your relationships with people. You can see those people's thoughts frozen in time, not discarded and forgotten with each new wave of tweets. For example, my girlfriend and I used to write letters every once in a while, and look at this excerpt of one very early one she sent me: "I think you called me darling tonight. I liked it." HAHA what a pussy my girlfriend was I know! But really I read it and get full of the mushies, because that was a time before any semblance of pet names or cute titles. Alright we're still in a time before pet names, but we use cute titles sometimes, and reading letters like that reminds me of how we used to be and how we used to talk to each other, and it makes me feel alright that's enough moving on.
Garrett and Eliot know what's up. They write me. My friend Bridget knows what's up. She wrote me a letter once and never mailed it. I bet it was nice. But honestly, letters have greatly improved my relationship this summer with two out of three of them, and having them write me was really refreshing for me in a fairly isolated Columbia summer.
Yeah okay I don't have a Facebook so letters are the only way to contact me lol I get it.
Anyway, I don't think I did a very excellent job selling letters tonight. But come on guys, letters are really cool, and getting them makes you feel special as crap, in the figurative sense please. So why didn't you write me one?