Life Doesn't Fit in a File Folder Summer Writing Life

Stuart Sheldon’s Old-Fashioned Letter

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Guess what, everyone? I just shipped off another letter to Tech as another bloggy friend has submitted an entry in the Write My Kid an Old-Fashioned Letter” Contest

This one traveled all the way from Miami.

When I tore open the envelope, I found a miniature piece of art because this little card? It’s hand-painted on one side.

Remember that guy who was following me on Twitter? @Stuart_Sheldon? I wrote about him HERE? Well, Stu wrote a letter for my kid. How cool is that?

I call this one “For a Bro.”

Because Stu penned “For a Bro” in ink on the front of the card.


Letter 2 – From Stuart Sheldon

Stu’s letter contains some profound advice.

On the surface, Stu’s advice may appear to be for the heterosexual male.


If you look deeper, you’ll understand that his words are really a life metaphor for anyone of any sexual orientation.

In fact, Stu’s letter is so profound, the counselors at Tech’s camp should read it to all the campers in the village and then launch a 3-day mass program based on his words of wisdom.

Check it out.

Click to make Stu’s words bigger-er!

In case you can’t read Stu’s words, I’ve translated here:

So Tech, here’s the thing about camp –

Talk to that girl you think is ALL THAT. You know the one! She makes you feel all shy cuz she’s so pretty and nice and natural and smiley. And maybe you think, “I could never talk to her; she’d never like me. She’s out of my league.” WRONG! She will like you and think you are kind and a gentleman…BECAUSE YOU ARE. Worst case, she will be your friend. Best case…who knows.

But life is about marching up to what you desire most and introducing yourself.

Trust me, little brother. I got your back.


Are you crying? I kinda teared up a little when I read Stu’s words.

The tone found in the letter is a lot like the one in Stu’s blog where he writes beautiful, heartfelt pieces about being a father to two young sons. About being a husband and a father, a writer and an artist, a thinker and a dreamer, finding his way in the world.

I know it’s easier to type or text these days, but typed letters don’t feel the way a real letter feels in your hands. I don’t care how many emoticons you use.

There is intimacy in the ink.

I love Stu’s loopy letters, the lightness of his hand in some places, and the places where he chose to linger and make things dark. 

For emphasis.

And I love Stu’s message, too. And I assume Tech will, too. Once a counselor reads the letter to him. You know, because he can’t read cursive since they don’t teach it in school anymore.

Read Stu’s latest piece HERE, and poke around a bit. He likes that.

Who sent you the last handwritten letter you received? Do you feel the difference between typed and handwritten letters the way I do? 

tweet me @rasjacobson

41 thoughts on “Stuart Sheldon’s Old-Fashioned Letter

  1. I feel exactly the same way you do Renee: today handwritten letters represent the writer’s desire to spend an unnecessary(?) amount of QUALITY time just for you when thoughts and feelings through a machine or social media would’ve been much more self-serving for the writer. They are totally different!

    The last handwritten letter I think I received was over 30 years ago…from my paternal grandmother; a thank you letter for coming down and spending 2 days and a night with her…just visiting and time together. She expressed her deep gratitude through that letter.

    The last handwritten letter I’ve written? June of 2011. :-/

    1. Duuuuuude! THIRTY YEARS AGO! No way! That makes me incredibly sad. I’m LOVING getting all these handwritten letters and, even though they are for Tech, I’m enjoying them vicariously! Double the pleasure! I don’t know who you wrote back in June 2011, but it must have been significant for you to remember. You think it’s time to pen a new letter? Just to make someone happy? Thanks for the visit, Professor.

      1. LOL…Renee, it’s a long semi-complicated explanation that is more appropriate elsewhere and private. No need to draw away from this post’s wonderful purpose and comments. 🙂

        How is Tech enjoying all the atypical letters?

        1. No need to explain…unless you want me to know — and then you know how to find me. As for Tech? The little scad hasn’t written anything except that first very brief postcard! *insert pouty face* I’ll see him on Visitor’s Day, and we’ll have a little chat about that. I KNOW he’s having a great time.

          1. LOL…pouty face? Come on Mom! Were you not sort of like that when you were his age? Were your parents your “best friends forever” at that age?

            Let him live it up a little without the (nemesing?) watchful eye of a parent! *smirk*

          2. What watchful eye? Can’t a mama request a letter? 😉 Seriously, I know he’s having a great time. I’m not worried. I’d just like some details about his time at camp, so that one day I can pull out HIS letters and show them to him! Right now, I’ve got a lame postcard with checkboxes. Grrrrr. Even my 14-year-old refuses to write letters these days!

          3. Apologies for my forthcoming mouth-full of economics to poorly explain what our innocent youth are being challenged by….

            Our children’s generation Renee, are bombarded in every imaginable way with the bedazzling “wow-ness factors” of techy gadgets by the highly persistent clever marketing departments of the mega-tech corporations — the insatiable appetite of commercialization, free-enterprise, competition, and answering to share-holders. But hey…we DO have one of the most ‘obese’ economies in the world! 😉

            There is a LOT to be said about the impeccable face-to-face art of dialog, conversation, social skills, and of course the dying art of handwritten literature.

            And now I turn-off my ridiculous ramblings. 😛

  2. Yes. Handwritten letters are special. Even when it’s hard to read the writing. I keep in touch with all my friends by email, and that’s great, because we ‘speak’ to each other more often that way. But when we really need to communicate, and maybe express real emotion, over a loss perhaps, only handwritten (preferably with a fountain pen) will do. So my last hand-written letter? Last week.

    1. Oh Margaret! Somehow I’m not surprised that you are still writing letters. I do, too. In fact, I have a new 14-year old pen pal, if you can believe it! I just received her first letter the other day and quickly responded.

      Keep gripping that fountain pen with love.

  3. I love getting handwritten stuff. I belong to a postcard club and I love getting postcards that have handwritten greetings from people around the world. I even get letters and cards with handwritten wishes from people. I LOVE it. I reply when there is an address. There’s something personal about a handwritten note.

    1. I’m so with you. In addition to that $25 gift card, the winner of this contest is going to get a handwritten letter… THAT is for sure! Both from me and the boy! I have never heard of a postcard club. Have you ever written about that on your blog?

  4. Good advice for a young man. The personal nature of the letter from bro to bro should resonate with Tech. Very cool.
    I love handwritten letters when my WANA sistas and bros send me cards of encouragement they always include a handwritten note. It touches me in a way that a typed note wouldn’t.
    So how is your son enjoying these letters? Does he find them corny, awesome, touching? You just never know how young guy will perceive them.

    1. Marcia! I also love a handwritten note, but what writer wouldn’t, right? As for my kid? I haven’t heard a peep from him, since he sent me that initial blue postcard — the bum! I assume he’s enjoying them. When he comes home, he’ll tell me his favorite one and — in addition to the $25 gift card — we’re both going to write the winner a handwritten note! There are a few more in the hopper! I’m enjoying them as they are all so different, but they really reflect the personality of the person behind the pen.

  5. This is a great letter! And it is advice I need – not so much about talking to a girl, but all about going up to what I desire and introducing myself. Good stuff.

    1. Tracie! I’m so with you on this! I thought that Stu’s words had greater application in terms of going for what we want! Not necessarily something I would have said to my son in a letter, but I’m so glad that he did!

  6. Renée – Thank you for you kind words. I hope Tech can glean a bit of wisdom from a guy who was way to shy to march up to the pretty girl and engage. I wish my mom would have had her friends write me letters to advise me to go for it. Big hug to you!!

  7. What an encouraging letter. There’s definitely something about the handwritten letter as opposed to hearing the exact same thing by email or text. The last time I got a hand written letter has to be about 8 years ago? For some odd reason, you definitely feel the effort that was put in to writing it. I even love cross outs in a letter that show me that the person is debating what to say and how to say it and constantly changing it. There’s no doubt in my mind that an email and text may have that same kind of sentiment behind it, but handwritten definitely makes a unique impact on me as a reader.

    1. Hi Sol! I have to say this whole exercise has been amazing for me to in that its reminding me just how much I love to send and receive handwritten letters. I will write more about this, I’m sure. And I WISH that I could respond to you personally right now, so you could see my big loopy “o” with a smily face inside!

    1. Honestly, people’s handwriting and content seems to be mimicking their blog style. I know this shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. It is. Misty, your letter is sooooo you! And Stu writes short, sweet, profound pieces on his blog. There is definitely an energy in the handwriting. I hope my son is enjoying reading these letters as much as I am!

  8. I can’t read my own writing, but I could totally read that. Beautiful and inspirational. I miss letters. The last written letter I got was from my CSL Senior Camper pen pal last year. Maybe that’s irony? Hmmm. I’m sure Tech will love all the mail he’s getting. He’ll be the most popular kid in Mohawk! I loved getting letters. And care packages. Maybe if I go back to camp someone will write me an actual letter. 🙂

    1. Omigosh, Rivki! Just got your letter the other day! I hardly know what to say! I will need to write you back, but I sent your whole shebang up to camp. WIll you send me your address again (privately)? I just have to write you back! I love how you got your kids involved — and how you integrated your love for music into the letter!

      1. 🙂 Absolutely. Sending address ASAP!

        p.s. I used to color my music all the time in college because it was actually “a thing.” Like, it was supposed to help me reach the depths of the soul of the music or something. I don’t know if that ever worked, but boy did I have fun coloring!

  9. Wow, these letters to Tech are amazing! I love Stu’s words and wisdom to your son. Kind of gives me goosebumps to think of all the love and goodwill getting stirred up here. I have a good friend who still sends out handwritten “I’m thinking of you” notes. Nothing better than getting one of those in the mail.

    1. Mary! That’s it! There is so much goodwill. I love these letters so much. They are doing “double-duty” as I’m loving slobbering over them first and then sending them up for Tech to enjoy. There really is nothing better than a handwritten letter. I feel like I can “hear” the person reading the words when I see the handwriting. Is that weird? There is so much voice and energy in the ink.

  10. Renée, I’m pretending I am handwriting this to you. There’s probably a nice cursive font I could use if I knew how to find it. Never mind … I’m SO behind in my blog reading but wanted to tell you how I’m loving the “letters to Tech”. Re your comment “You know, because he can’t read cursive since they don’t teach it in school anymore.” I just discovered this the other day and could not believe my ears! Are future generations going to revert to the thumbprint to sign their name?
    Have a wonderful time on Visitors Day!

    1. Isn’t is sad that cursive is now a “font option”? It bums me about — and not just because of aesthetics. There are necessary fine motor skills that kids aren’t developing these days by skipping along to keyboards so quickly. I won’t lecture you — it’s like preaching to the choir. And, Patricia… you know you NEVER have to apologize to me for being “behind” with blog reading. Just know I’m here — always happy to read your words. And I’m reading yours — even if I don’t always comment. These days I’m often on my mobile device and it’s SOOOOOOO tedious to comment.

      But I’m here.

      I’m here.

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