Please Write

 Finding Joy and Meaning in the Soulful Art of Handwritten Letters

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
320 Pages
Reviewed on 06/27/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Lynne M. Kolze uses Please Write to remind us that there is something truly magical about finding a personal letter in the mailbox. I’ve always felt it. I remember rushing home from school anxious to see if the postman had left something for me. Sensing my passion for receiving mail, my mother would save the advertising pamphlets for me, dubbing it the Emily mail, just in case there wasn’t a letter from a pen pal, or my grandmother or my godmother. I loved to write, send, and receive mail. I still do. Simply said, “Letters are windows into our souls.” These are rewarding in many ways, much more so than the cold, distant bluntness of techno blitzing, texting, emails, private messaging, and so on. These are stories of lives lived, simple notes of thanks and gratitude, remarkable expressions of caring and love, and so much more. It’s an age-old art, this letter writing. Some of the greatest minds of all time regularly corresponded in the form of handwritten letters. Even Thomas Jefferson was an avid letter writer who over his lifetime wrote approximately nineteen thousand letters.

Please Write by Lynne M. Kolze is a thorough look at a fine art form that for many has faded into the past and been overwhelmed by technology. There is hope, though, and the author prepares the reader for a journey to recovering this almost lost craft. Written with a solid knowledge of the topic, a compassionate compilation of anecdotes, and many personal memories, this book will not only fascinate letter writers and letter enthusiasts. It will encourage many to pick up the pen and write a letter, perhaps for the first time in years. Some of the stories she shares will bring tears to the reader’s eyes, including the tale of her beloved brother who lost his battle with cancer at the age of forty-four. Other stories will make the reader chuckle or just warm the heart. Letter writing is all about sharing our lives, our souls, and all that matters most. From one avid letter writer to another, thank you, Lynne, for writing this book.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Please Write is an attempt at resurrecting an age-old art. Author Lynne M. Kolze shares her views on writing physical letters. She shares a deeply personal history, and the book records her family’s past in many ways and showcases particular events or periods. Kolze includes a timeline of the past and development of writing, the story behind Dear John/Dear Jane letters, and using pigeons to send letters securely. She cites the benefits of letter writing, like increased vocabulary, improved understanding of the written word, and the chance to practice new writing forms, like cursive or calligraphy, without pressing readers to abandon digital communication completely.

Lynne M. Kolze has written a book that demands attention. With references to statistics, Kolze explores the emotional benefits of writing letters or notes and connects it to a decrease in loneliness, depression, and disconnection while acknowledging organizations that write letters to decrease the effects of depression. Particularly interesting are the author’s sections on Round Robin letters in the United States, creating artwork to accompany a message, secret messages with postage stamps, legacy letters, messages in a bottle, and letters portrayed in books and movies. Between meaningful notes, letters from caring television personalities, love letters, and pen pals, the author illustrates the need for handwritten correspondence and declares a call to action to preserve it. Please Write is a great selection for anyone interested in the history, safeguarding, and benefits of missives and penned communication.

Robin Goodfellow

Please Write, by Lynne M. Kolze, is a heartwarming self-help book about the importance of letter writing and the legacy it creates. The book is divided into 6 sections. Section 1, Introduction, presents a brief but poignant argument about the almost sacred quality of letter writing. Section 2, The Legacy of Letter Writing, details the mental health benefits that are associated with letter writing, while Section 3, Letters We Remember, showcases the nostalgia and almost bittersweet effects letter writing can have on our lives. Section 4, Letters Inspire Art, details the whimsical and creative elements we can implement in letter writing, while Section 5, The Curious, Quirky, and Fascinating World of Letter Writing illustrates the almost childlike ways letter writing has impacted our community, as well as the weird ways it can nourish ties, even for complete strangers. Finally, Section 6, Writing the New and Preserving the Old, teaches how we can preserve letter writing as a memento mori, whether it be for ourselves or future generations.

I was equally surprised and enthralled when I discovered a book dedicated to letter writing. More often than not, I recommend letter writing to clients who have experienced trauma, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, etc. Because of this, I especially enjoyed Section 2. Moreover, I’ve volunteered with organizations such as Letters Against Depression, and have sent many greeting cards to members of my church when they’re having a hard time, or the sisters from my circle when they find life a little too difficult. My husband has written letters to me on our anniversary, and to this day I still treasure them. I absolutely loved the stories that Kolze included. I like the idea of an ancient tree encouraging lovers to stick together by holding their love letters (the fact it has an address still stuns me!). The man who became the first human package delighted me also. Then of course, you have the avid stamp collectors (my father-in-law, father, and little sister), the packrats (me), and the romantic seal users (my husband). I’m sure this book would reaffirm familial ties just by reading it, but it also has fun activities for loved ones to try. The activities might not mean much initially, but nothing beats looking back at the plethora of letters you’ve written to someone, or letters someone has written to you, and rereading them. I recommend Please Write by Lynne M. Kolze to parents, grandparents, and romantics who are easily swept away by fairytales.

Jamie Michele

Lynne M. Kolze's book, Please Write, is a heartfelt celebration of the value and significance of handwritten letters. Kolze encourages readers to embrace this form of communication, emphasizing its ability to foster human connection. The book highlights the importance of combating loneliness, as was needed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and shares personal experiences and perspectives to urge readers to initiate meaningful exchanges with loved ones through heartfelt letters. It emphasizes the transformative power of letter writing, describing it as an irreplaceable treasure that offers warmth, personality, and deeper connections. The joy of anticipation and the benefits of writing letters, such as improved penmanship and brain stimulation, are discussed. Additionally, the book explores the meditative and spiritual qualities of letter writing and mentions the positive impact of handwritten letters demonstrated in the Caring Letters Approach research study.

Please Write by Lynne M. Kolze showed me the enduring relevance of letter writing and its importance even in today's world. Kolze believes that handwritten letters offer solace and support during times of tragedy and loss, bridging the gaps, especially with strangers. She presents examples of individuals writing to service members they did not know. This was actually something I looked up after reading the book and there are many organizations that will facilitate this, which is incredible. Heartwarming stories of individuals like Shaka Senghor, an ex-convict who received life-changing letters while incarcerated, harness the healing power of kind, handwritten messages. And remember pen pals? As children, we so looked forward to building and maintaining friendships, and the traditions of pen pals and the concept of round-robin letters live on. I think the most personal part, having recently lost both grandmothers within a year, is the significance of legacy letters in preserving family history and passing on wisdom to future generations. Overall, Please Write is a wonderful collection of ideas, reasons, and a creatively encouraging push to close the laptop and pull out your nicest pen and writing paper. Very highly recommended.

Nino Lobiladze

We live in the digital era, and the world is changing rapidly. But something almost forgotten remains unchanged—handwritten letters and their significance in our lives. Please Write by Lynne M. Kolze speaks about the impact letters can have on us, be it correspondence between long-time friends, love messages, or "angry" mail that can ruin relationships. The book also touches on the history of letter writing and postcard sending and the evolution and development of postal services. Among other topics, the author shares tips concerning preserving important correspondence at home and encourages us to be creative when sending a letter.

Please Write provides a smooth and easy reading experience. Lynne M. Kolze's writing style is beautiful and derives from her love for writing letters. We can only imagine the courage it took Lynne to work on a book about handwritten letters in the age of email. The author did a tremendous job researching the history of letter writing to offer fascinating fun facts and anecdotes about the skill we tend to forget. From Please Write, I learned about the intriguing language of postage stamps. Also, I liked a story about the heroic carrier pigeon named Cher Ami. I will look at them with different eyes now, thanks to Lynne's kind words regarding these birds. Please Write is more than just a book about letters. This motivational read reminds us about the value of family, friendship, and tight connection with those we love and appreciate. I highly recommend Please Write to nonfiction and educational literature fans and all lovers of the epistolary genre.