Now That You Have The Time, Why Not Sit Down And Write That Letter?

By Marty Lee, Contributor

John Knox Village has twice welcomed the author, Ashley “Ash” Davis, to speak about his personal crusade to rekindle the lost art of hand-writing letters.

At this time of social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines, now is a great time to rediscover the pen, paper, envelope and stamp and get to writing very personal letters to family members and good friends.

Ash published a book, A Life Through Letters: An Aging Father’s Legacy • A Son’s Revelation • A Birth of a Movement,” which is a compilation of letters his father wrote during his lifetime. Both Ash and his father knew a few things about effective letter writing, and now Ash is on a mission to explain the health and social benefits of letter writing.

John Knox Village letter writing

JKV resident Sally Harper meets author Ash Davis during a 2018 appearance at the Village’s Centre Auditorium.

In an exclusive interview with us, he explained the importance of it:

“My book, “A Life Through Letters” is based is on letters my father wrote to people about experiences in his life,” Ash said. “They were written to friends, family, strangers, even inanimate objects. The letters form the foundation of my book. More importantly, they give an intimate portrait of his life for my family.”

Ash’s sons benefit from an intimate knowledge of a grandfather they never knew in life, and yet they gain from his timeless inspiration and experiences.

“Now my sons, who are eight and 10 years old, have a letter from their grandfather to their great grandparents and understand the loving relationship they shared. This can shape families for generations,” he said.

Letter Writing Respite From Isolation

Many of us now have the time, while in semi-isolation, to sit down and write. Technology offers instant communication with family and friends through Skype, Twitter and Zoom, but those same communications lack the permanence and thoughtful composition of a hand-written letter.

“While FaceTime and other ways to connect are great in times like these, I encourage people to follow up those conversations with a short note or letter,” he said. “This will help reinforce the conversation and help the sender and recipient to remember and cherish the exchange. That personal touch will help you build your relationship now, and when we come out the other side of this, and are able to see each other again, you will pick right back up where you left off.”

The Health Benefits Of Writing

“Now, more than ever, while isolated, we also need to protect our mental health. There is a tremendous amount of research that says the gratitude you feel internally, when writing a heartfelt letter of affection, can have a huge positive impact on your mental health and in turn your physical health. That’s why it is so important to pick one or two people a week who you love and send them a note and tell them how you feel. You’ll change their view of the world and you’ll both feel much better because of it.

“While it may sound simple, the only way start is to simply write. Someone told me at a seminar that they were terrified to write a letter because they may write the wrong thing. If you are writing from your heart, it certainly can’t be wrong and most certainly not something of which to be terrified. I also tell folks that the recipient will remember the gesture and how they felt in receiving the letter more than a small detail you think was wrong. That said, some tips would be to keep the recipient in mind and write in a way they can understand and use personal anecdotes and stories to connect with them. Always proofread your writing and try not to use abbreviations, as it can make you seem rushed.”

letter writing John Knox Village

Now You Have The Time: Start Writing

During these days of social caution and minimizing your exposure outside the home, it is a perfect time to sit down at your desk and start writing.

As Ash said, “The act of writing letters changed my father’s life and continues to bring joy and new connections in my life daily. I would encourage everyone to take the time to write even just one letter in the coming weeks. I can assure you the process will impact you and the rewards for the recipient will have a ripple effect as we continue to deal with this new world in which we all find ourselves.”

Ashley Davis’s book “A Life Through Letters,” is available on Amazon.

For more ways that John Knox Village provides ways to stay inspired, fit and vibrant in retirement, feel free to check out other articles on our blog. And to discover this wellness-focused Life Plan Community in beautiful Pompano Beach, click here or call 954-783-4040 to coordinate your own COVID-careful personalized on-campus appointment.

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