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from "Friendship in Letters," by Jessica Mesman Griffith, Good Letters: The IMAGE Blog, 30 July 2009

This is what I love the most about letters: through them, we are a part of each other’s daily lives in a profoundly intimate way. We see what the other sees—think what the other thinks—in a way that would be impossible through any other form of communication. Different even than when we were together having the same experience, filtering it through our own perceptions. It’s a profound intimacy, profoundly comforting.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve made a character of myself in our correspondence, and of Amy. I realize, returning now to the letters, that my voice there is different than anywhere else. The diction is a little higher; I use less contractions and slang. They are intensely personal, and yet strangely formal—another effort, made unconsciously, to elevate the contents.

But that elevation isn’t a writerly embellishment; it’s the dignity demanded by the subject. Sometimes in recreating and narrating an event for Amy, I’ve finished with my heart literally racing at the beauty and significance of the moment I’ve described. But it isn’t merely that I’ve enriched the moment’s meaning by writing it. No—in writing it to her, I’ve uncovered the meaning that was hidden there all along.