“Have you ever had an epistolary relationship?” “That sounds kinda kinky and I don’t do kinky.” ~ The Love Letter (1999)
While it is true that the actual meaning of epistolary has to do with letters – stamped, in an envelope, snail mail kind of letters – it would seem that as we are more and more inclined to communicate by text and email, relationships have become the stuff of keystrokes as opposed to face-to-face, voice-to-voice emotion. Rather than engaging in a one-on-one where body language and voice inflection provide part of the story, we are fast becoming a society relying only on digital words rather than actions. Have we metamorphed relationships into a sort-of epistolary exercise?
The beauty of the digital platform is twofold: communication is instantaneous and quite often more honest. It is far easier to type the heartfelt truth because the consequences of “putting it out there” seem minimal when delivered electronically. But like the epistles of the past, the written word in any shape or form has a powerful impact. It is tangible, permanent and exists in the absolute. What is written, sent and read is poignant and affecting. And like the love letters of yesteryear, the texts and emails of today will last a lifetime even if the sentiment does not.