Story eight –
According to the theory of incidental touch, we associate the qualities of an object with those of its owner. This is especially true of the handwritten or drawn letter, the very touch of which is as emotional as it is physical, its depth and type of tactility unmatched by anything we can do with the screen.
Given this, I am doubling down on exchanging handwritten letters with my grandma in Tokyo. It’s something we’ve done for the last two years, now that I’m in London. It’s not just that my grandma hails from a pre-digital generation, and so prefers to communicate this way. And it’s not just that we so enjoy updating each other about what we’ve been doing and reading. It’s not even just that I love to sit down and write while thinking about her. Rather, it’s that when, like this morning, I receive a letter from her, I can feel my grandma in the paper she uses. I see her hands in how it’s folded, in the how she fills its spaces. I sense her in the shape of the letters, in the beautiful handwriting. A letter from her feels like a visit, like the hugs and smiles she gave me when I was little. I feel her touch. And when I do, I am loved.
So, a call to action – personal and professional. In a world where the convenience and efficiency of the digital is everything when it comes to communicating, think how different and special and wonderful it feels to receive something handmade, especially in terms of what it says about the person who made it.
Words by Sachiko Osawa and Dave Waddell
Illustration Jessica Watson
The historian Peter Hennessy recently observed that future historians will divide post-divide society into BC and AC – Before COVID and After COVID. It is in exactly this spirit that AfterCOVID seeks to celebrate how the world’s largest shared experience has given us the most extraordinary stories of what it means to live beautifully. Together, they are the clues to creating the future we all hope for.
FreeState is planning for a post-COVID future. Share your story with us – really, we’d love to talk. In the meantime, stay well.