By Meg Crane

Cellphones and the Internet make communicating with friends and loved ones easier. But does it necessarily make it better?

Most of us have probably sent an email or text in anger that we later regretted. Maybe we send little love messages to our partners, but the meaning gets lost through the ease of communication.

Next time you want to communicate a strong emotion, but aren’t able to look someone in the eyes to do it, consider hunkering down and taking a pen to paper.

It’s easier to get out our thoughts and express our feelings when we have to think about the words that we will put on paper and take the time to write them out. It is also more meaningful, as the recipient knows you put some serious effort into contacting them.

Sending a letter, rather than an email, can be a lot of fun. It gives you more freedom to be creative. You can decorate the envelope, send along funny comics or articles you pull out of magazines. Draw some pictures or send along a couple photographs. Maybe even send along a copy of your favourite zine!

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, sending a letter would be a great way to show friends (and more than friends) how much you care. And if you’re sending it to someone you’re hoping to jump in the sack with, consider writing them some personalized erotica (tips on page 10).

Letters are also a great way to get to know people. Maybe you bought something on Etsy from a pretty rad person who you wish would be your new bestie. Send them a letter about how much you love what you got from them and tell them a little about yourself.

Maybe even send them a gift you think they might like. A woman in the southern United States who bought one of my zines once knit me a cowl since she had heard how chilly Winnipeg is in the winter. A long distance friendship ensued and we found out we had a lot in common. We were even able to give each other a bit of life advice from afar. And share awesome vegan recipes.

Writing to a distant relative can be a fun way to learn more about your family (and possibly secure a free place to stay on vacation). Maybe you’ve got a cool uncle you’ve only met a couple times but want to be closer to. Send him a letter and you might just be surprised what turns up in your mailbox a few weeks later.

The anticipation of waiting for a letter can be a lot of fun too. With an email or text, you expect an answer quickly. After 24 hours without a response, some might begin to get anxious or angry that they haven’t heard back. With a letter, you never know how long it could take to show up. You’ll be rushing to that little box everyday with excitement rather than dread of a pile of unwanted junk mail or bills.

If you don’t think your friends would appreciate your words, don’t admire anyone and don’t have relatives in far-off places, write a letter to us! We’ll hook you up with someone else looking for a penpal or answer ourselves. Email cockroachzine@gmail.com and we’ll send you an address to get a letter off to.


Meg Crane is the founder of Cockroach. Follow her on Twitter.

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