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Wm journalist David Williamson on the joys of a handwritten note 'Writing a letter by hand is the psychological equivalent of having a back-scratch. The actual act triggers pleasant sensations, and afterwards the complexities of the world seem tremendously less terrifying. Email and text-messaging have mutilated the English language and force us to look at our lives as a garbled and disconnected series of happenings.

But when putting pen on paper there's a compulsion to communicate in proper sentences. Grammar is based on logic, and writing a well-formed letter forces the brain to revisit memories and analyse them with clarity, finding the connections and sparking reflections which can be explored and enjoyed for the rest of the week. It's while taking the time to describe to someone why an event was amusing, or what is it about a person which makes you think fondly of them, that we can spot the gleam of gold in our hurried lives.

There is also something important about holding a pen and making marks on paper. As children, we labour in agony to learn this art, but as soon as a keyboard is put in front of us we stop forming words with a pen and start hitting plastic keys. Returning once a week to pen and paper to write a letter exercises different parts of the brain and helps us to think with a dash of distinctiveness.'
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 22, 2005
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