Every few weeks, I find these gorgeous postcards mixed in with my mail. They come from my friend Ian K., an extraordinary calligrapher, designer, artists and juggler. And even though they’re from nowhere more exotic than Stamford, CT, from a man with whom my relationship is deeply affectionate and sturdily defined, their appearance does strike me with all sorts of romantic feeling because…well, how often does one receive the real gifts of friends?
I say romantic in the sense of big, generous feeling, in the sense of being deeply felt, in the sense of what’s rare and precious. When I picked up this card above, it connected me with the scenes of Florentino Ariza, setting up shop in “Love in the Time of Cholera,” typing out the love letters of thousands of illiterate strangers in love.
It’s an act of tremendous generosity, the actual giving of words. Physically writing something down for another person is as close as we can get to literally giving someone the immense, intangible value of our time. And I think it’s equally valuable if one has only the words or only the power to write, so long as you’re a part of getting them combined. Spoken words are largely fast and thoughtless. The intentionality of picking up a piece of paper and writing down an idea gives words a strength that air and sound do not. The written word is a thing that can be seen and touched, a sturdy token of the love that is inherent in wanting to be understood.
So, thanks Ian. Expect something in the mail soon.