A few unconventional things have happened in our lives this year. First, we left social media. Second, we moved into a 17-foot camper with no internet or phone reception. Now we live in a one-room stone house, but the internet and phone situations are nary better. We have effectively spent most of 2016 disconnected by today's standards. Contrarily, a feeling of deep and true connection has washed over us because now it takes effort to stay in touch; we have become participants in that effort. What began as handwritten letters to our sister in the convent has blossomed into letter writing to many of our nearest and dearest.
The act of writing, enclosing, and stamping a piece of mail is, to us, one of preservation and commitment. We are participating in a show of love that has been used since the Postal Service began routes during a time when America was in its infancy. So, yes, we made good on weekly letters to and fro, and we even purchased a P.O. Box in West Pawlet's tiny downtown (where the only business is the Post Office and all letters go into the "Out of Town Letters" slot).
Moving into a new home has allowed for us to prioritize the spaces within that reflect our lifestyle. A record player here, a long table for hosting dinner parties there. Of all the new spaces it is our writing desk that excites us the most. Both a service to ourselves and our loved ones, our writing desk is an inviting space conducive to word flow. No clutter and certainly no technology; just a box with writing notions and a pineapple lamp. While Sam has poured over research on which typewriter Gabriel Garcia Marquez used during the 1970s (fascinating research for a Marquez-ophile), for now we abide the humble pen. And how to rightly express the joy of gazing upon the familiar handwritten fonts of our loved ones far away? Pen and paper—nearing on obsolescence in an age of smart phones and tablets, email and text messages—have become beloved, a forum for long-form conversations not limited to a certain number of characters.
Recently, we have spent some time pondering the little things that make life that much more refreshing & joyful on a daily basis. Our writing desk—a space devoted to the expression of the words in our hearts, and to engaging with the people with whom we wish to share those words—certainly falls in that category. We wondered if dedicating a whole post to such an ordinary thing as a writing desk might be a bit much. But that is just the point: it is often the very ordinary aspects of our lives that have the most potential for generating happiness. It is only so often that one gets to embark on a memorable trip, see a favorite musician in concert, or celebrate a birthday or anniversary. It is quite easy to be appreciative of the extraordinary when it comes around. Perhaps most worthwhile of all, though, is seeing the goodness in the ordinary, mundane phenomena of daily life.