I was recently thinking about a song by R.E.M. titled E-Bow The Letter. This post was inspired by the song. If you haven’t heard it yet, I strongly suggest you buy the MP3 at Amazon.
Generally, people are familiar with the letters that are sent through the mail. Letter writing, in its traditional handwritten form has become a lost art, perhaps due to our increasing reliance on digital communication methods. Blogger Nicole Froio has an interesting post about letters here that deserves a look.
The letters I am discussing in this article are those, which for whatever reason, remain unsent. An unsent letter is typically used as a very powerful journal writing tool, but it can also be a writing pursuit in which the writer is in need of, or in the process of seeking closure. When a writer writes, they are essentially conjuring up the very essence of their being by placing words on paper. An unsent letter is one that although brutally honest in its content and intent, never gets sent to the recipient for whom it was written.
An unsent letter allows its creator to say what they feel needs to be said without any real or imagined consequences that might arise from sending the letter in an actual sense. Any unsent letter can be anything we wanted or needed to say to someone or something, but haven’t for whatever reason, such as an apology, unfinished business, secrets, etc.