You looking for me? I’ll send you a letter.

Um, someone got to my web page by searching for “photos peeing behind.” Welcome to the interweb! Thank you Google!

(Um, for the record ((mom)) I do NOT have pictures of peeing behinds. The phrase “peeing behind” is on my photo page. Wild.)

Last night I went to a book lecture by Dava Sobel, author of Galileo’s Daughter. That book is one of the most finely written works of non-fiction I’ve ever read. It was fantastic. Maybe I liked it so much because it was about Galileo, and I love science, or maybe it was because it was about a wonderful father-daughter relationship, and I’m sort of a daddy’s girl sometimes. But it was so well written. Sobel translated over 100 letters written from Galileo’s daughter from her convent, and uses it to tell the story of Galileo, the church, and his science. Wonderful.

While I was at the book lecture, I started thinking about letters. I love letters. I’m a real packrat – I have a couple of small boxes at home full of cards and letters. But at the same time, letter writing is a dying form of communication, really. In Italy in the 1600’s, people would write each other letters much as we might call someone to let them know how our day went. Messangers would take letters from person to person, sometimes waiting to collect a response. That stuff charms me. I collect stationary, and try to write letters. I love sitting down with a nice pen and a nice card and some fun stamps and sending notes out to my friends. And then, when I clean my room and come across stacks of old correspondence, I find myself thinking: what the heck am I going to do with this stuff?

In a time when we come across so many old letters and photos in thrift shops, should we worry about keeping a written record of our daily lives? And, should I save letters for posterity when I don’t really think I’ll ever be a famous person of interest, like Galileo was, and people probably won’t want to read my letters?

And what about this computer stuff? With the emails and the on-line journaling, we’re probably reaching a point very quickly where we may not have a handwritten record at all. It’s still fun to write by pen and ink, but it’s harder to take the time and sit down and do so. It’s also slower. It’s so easy for me to keep a window open on my desktop, type for a couple of minutes crazily, and then leave it.

But besides the historic paper trail, what are we losing from writing electronically? I wonder if we aren’t losing the ability to think clearly and concisely. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re writing something by hand to get it right the first time. I think that the habit of thinking through your arguments is a good one to know. It’s very easy when writing electronically to just zip through the middle, write the intro, and then figure out the best conclusion. I mean, I do that all the time. But here I try to do an off the cuff ramble. Sure, I set it aside for hours some times, but it generally comes out just the way I post it. And it probably shows, hey?

The snow here is melting, slowly but surely. My car was covered right over the top but it’s nearly down to the middle of the doors by now. It’s been in the 40s every day. Alternate side of the street parking rules have been suspended all week, and I’ve been reluctant to shovel my car out. Apparently the city has been reluctant to finish up the job as well – because there’re mountains of snow all over town, and primarily in my neighborhood, that haven’t been trucked off and melted yet. It is a huge job, so I understand it’s taking a while. But you know what Jersey City did? They went out on Wednesday night and took off all of the snow. They towed cars, moved snow, and towed the cars back. That’s seriously hard core! They put all the snow in an old reservoir for storage. It’s rock. It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow, which means the snow should melt and melt and I’ll be able to move my car with a minimum of shoveling. That’s my plans for Sunday. Saturday, well, I think I may go to another belly dancing class! Whee! I love it.