19 October 2011


It would thrill me to no end, it someone were to send me an old-fashioned letter or a postcard. Not an email, or a printed typewritten one, but an genuine old-school letter painstakingly written on nice paper, complete with ink smudges and crumpled edges; or a postcard thoughtfully picked out from another part of the world. Is that too much to ask? Hahaha. There is just something about carefully-penned thoughts on ink that tickles me inside.

I remember getting my first Griffin and Sabine book and how I loved every page. I scrutinized every postcard, devoured every word they wrote to one another, carefully extracted letters from their envelopes, and took care not crumple any of the pages. It's a serious sign of deference, because all my other books are dog-eared and chocolate stained! It just seemed so personal, reading the correspondence unfold between Griffin and Sabine, from when they were strangers to one another, until their letters became increasingly intimate, revealing more and more about themselves.

Paano kaya if that had unfolded in emails or text messaging? Ick, that would be really creepy, a stranger who seems to know what you do everyday! Or even if it wasn't creepy, it would still be less romantic. :D

A sample spread of a Griffin and Sabine book.

Several weeks ago, I moved all my things from my Manila apartment back to the old bedroom I share with my sister. It was like fitting all my things into a suitcase -- everything I accumulated in my 7 year stint in the city, such a limited space! I ended up throwing or giving away or packing up everything in my old room except for the books and furniture, and a box filled with letters.

I had to smile and even chuckle a little while rereading the carefully written (in pencil or crayon!) handmade cards from my diaper friends decorated with stickers or leaves and petals which have all sadly disintegrated; letters written in scented stationery (which surprisingly still have some of their scent after more than a decade) from grade school friends with things like JAPAN (Just Always Pray at Night) and ITALY (I Trust and Love You); and a lot of notes and letters from my highschool barkada. We used to have Christmas lunch every year in Batangas, where we'd exchange not gifts, but long letters to each other. I didn't keep a diary in high school, but my life is well chronicled in those letters, as they progressed from "Makipagbati ka na kay {blank}" to  "Yihee, do you like {blank}!" to "He doesn't deserve you" hahaha, highschool was yucky. There were also letters from my first ex, from a couple of younger girls with whom I became close, and from my highschool bestfriend who gave me a letter before I left for Manila, which essentially said DON'T GET YOURSELF KNOCKED UP. Hehehe.

It was really nice to read them again. On the other hand if I wanted to go sentimental and reminisce my med school years I'd have to swim through the 20,000 emails in my Gmail archive and a few hundred Facebook PMs/ chats. And somehow I don't think it will feel the same, much like the difference between ebooks and actual books. I like ebooks too, but it doesn't give me the same satisfaction as actually feeling and smelling the paper and turning the pages with my fingertips.

Last week my brother and I watched the TV adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel Going Postal about a con-man asked to choose between death or reviving the Post Office, which the people had foregone in favor of the Clacks (which was similar in principle to a telegram). In his speech at the reopening of the Post Office he said, 
... can you write S.W.A.L.K. on a clacks? Can you seal it with a loving kiss? Can you cry tears on to a clacks, can you smell it, can you enclose a pressed flower? A letter is more than just a message. [...] A letter is real.
Replace clacks with email or text message and it becomes an argument fit for our world. :)


  1. You love Griffin and Sabine? OMIGOD ME TOO!!! I am totally in love with the whole trilogy! I want to buy every Nick Bantock book!
    Sorry for the exclamation points, I'm just so enthusiastic!

  2. Haha, yes i do! and I totally understand the exclamation points haha.


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