On Leaving a Legacy: Celebrating The Letter

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gaiman quoteAt the risk of sounding a bit like a broken record: I love words.

I love words in general, but the Written Word: How do I love it? Oh let me count the ways.

From expressing powerful ideas to perpetuating traditions, taking you on imaginary journeys, captivating beautiful moments and preserving them for eternity, words have the power to save souls and lives.

The written word can take so, so many forms: from poems to stories, songs, laws, journals, manuals, contracts, blog posts, columns, essays…

But to me the most beautiful and intimate form and by far my favorite means to connect with a kindred spirit via any distance (even if you’re only in the next room) has always been The Letter.

Needless to say, I have been an ardent pen pal since I was able to lick a stamp and I am not ashamed to say that my collection of correspondence includes a stack of boxes containing the intercommunication with possibly every single member of the Nik Kershaw fan club ca 1985 – 1989. This side of the pond and yonder.

There is something special about sitting down and taking the time to assemble and preserve your thoughts on a piece of paper for a counterpart – regardless of the message you are trying to convey. Not only are you giving someone else the time of day you are also allowing them access to some of your innermost thoughts and feelings.

Letters are facilitators of intellectual and emotional intimacy.

They create a unique sense of connection, providing glimpses into minds and hearts of their composers and – if you are very lucky – they can create a bond that bridges time and space. And leave a legacy of the human qualities that you are made of and stood for.

But with the onslaught of digital information the written word has been getting the raw end of the deal these days.

Connection happens fast, via instant satisfaction there-goes-the-grammar-email or 140 characters I-said-it-first-tweets.

Don’t get me wrong: I love technology and I am a prolific user of these communication tools.

But absolutely nothing replaces the joy of receiving and reading a good old fashioned letter.

Hand me the ammonium carbonate, if it’s handwritten.

If you can even only remotely relate to that kind of passion for The Letter then hold on to your personalized stationeries :

There’s an ubercool event for you and it’s taking place in London in a fortnight.

Actually it’s a series of uberevents, five nights to be exact.

And wouldn’t you know it? There are still some tickets left??


Which brings me to the point when I advise you to RUN – DO NOT WALK – over to Ticketmaster and secure some seats ere it’s too late.

Oh look! A handy button that will take you to their site ->>>>>>  Click here for tickets

Trust me on this. I’ll be right here waiting for your to let you know what it’s all about.


So here’s the skinny:

letters-live LETTERS LIVE is a series of live performance events that celebrate the enduring power of literary correspondence.

Inspired by Letters of Note, compiled by Shaun Usher and To the Letter by Simon Garfield these events bring together some of the worlds biggest talents on stage to celebrate and honour the legacy of some of the wittiest, funniest and brilliant minds.

Don’t believe me? Here are some of the folks doing their thing at past LETTERS LIVE events:

And they are at it again this year! Only it’s not just for one evening this time…

Nay – this year’s instalment is a series of 5 (!) evenings all of which will feature one Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey (also of Sherlock fame) with varying guest appearances from artist such such as Tom Odell and Sally Hawkins.  

When people come together that are passionate about a thing – magic happens. There’s an energy in the room that is almost tangible. And with this year’s line-up delightful enchantment is bound to ensue.

As if all of this is not enough to get you off the couch and down to the Freemason’s hall this Easter weekend attending this event you will be supporting not one, not two, but THREE great charities that foster literacy: The Reading Agency, First Story and Ministry of Stories.

Triple awesomeness!

So what are you waiting for?

Grab a ticket, hop on a plane, a train or an automobile and head on down for a night full of celebrating life, love and the enduring power of the written word.

I know I will.

See you there.