Safari Friday searching the web for writers and readers — Letters of Note
This week I want to introduce you to a gem of a website.
Letters of Note publishes fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes and memos. It is updated frequently – most weekdays – and it will put a smile on your face or a tear in your eye. These are real letters from real people.
One special feature is that whenever possible a photograph of the original letter is published so you can see the underlining and exclamation marks, the 1930s typos and the agitated scrawl.
Here’s a taste of the letters available.
Damn You All to Hell — Tom Hanks 13 months ago writing to a comic talk show host about an interview request (he was saying yes).
The late great Kurt Vonnegut writing in 1973 to a head teacher who had burned copies of Slaughterhouse Five rather than let the groundbreaking novel be taught in his school. Here’s a quote from the letter:
It is true that some of the characters speak coarsely. That is because people speak coarsely in real life. Especially soldiers and hardworking men speak coarsely, and even our most sheltered children know that. And we all know, too, that those words really don’t damage children much. They didn’t damage us when we were young. It was evil deeds and lying that hurt us.
Galileo – the first person to study the sky through a telescope – describing his discovery of the moons of Jupiter to the Dodge of Venice in 1610.
Virginia Woolf‘s suicide note to her husband which ends with the heartbreaking line:
I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.
There’s over 900 letters in the archives and a book of the best is coming out in October. Go and look at the website for yourself – I’ve fallen in love with it.
Safari = Swahili for long journey.I am on the look out for anything accessible from a keyboard that educates, entertains, intrigues, raises a smile. Anything that helps a reader get through the day or a writer the next draft. Let me know if you write a website that you’d like featured or discover something that really should be shared.