Note from Georgia O’Keeffe to Alfred Stieglitz, 1943-04-28. Courtesy of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Most of our written correspondence happens quickly, urgently. A few words appear; we respond; they disappear. Sometimes, though, a real letter arrives, and that invites attention and time. Personal, handwritten correspondence, so common only a generation ago, has now become unexpected, and, while not quite a lost art, it is rare enough to provoke some examination. To begin, consider the letter as defined five centuries ago by Flemish philologist Justus Lipsius in Principles of Letter-Writing. “A letter, ” he says, is “a message of the mind to someone who is absent.” Letters travel over distance and time to bind people together. And, with their very physical presence, they convey thoughts, feelings and emotions in ways not possible using other means. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Four Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Interiors Issue 19 Prankster’s Paradise Is the nine-to-five grind approaching monotony? Arrive at the office early to even the playing field and invoke mirth for your co-workers. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots.