Postcard #9 Wellington Lights from Mt Victoria, or The Architecture of Happiness

March 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

This post first appeared on “The Postcard Chronicles

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The Architecture of Happiness is a dazzling and generously illustrated journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations”

For the past several weeks, I’ve been slowly digesting Alain de Botton’s beautiful prose in The Architecture of Happiness. The book was made popular after making an appearance in 500 days of Summer, when Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character decides to rededicate his passion in architecture. I picked up the book by chance, after reading another de Botton book, On Love, which was filled with thought-provoking quotes on love. This book is a combination of philosophical tibits, aesthetics theory and art history concepts, all deeply intertwined. Though I’m only half-way through, it has spurred some sporadic thoughts that I thought I’d share.

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Observing Snail Mail

May 28, 2013 § 9 Comments

I stumbled across an article yesterday titled “My Teenage Son Does Not Know How To Mail A Letter – I Blame Technology“. It was quite mind-boggling to realize that there’s a younger generation that has never sent or received a physical letter. That they may have no idea how to write out the address on an envelope. Time really slips by fast when you aren’t paying attention.

Growing up with a father that works in foreign services meant a lot of moving around. Every few years we would get the notice to pack our bags, hug our friends and say goodbye to the life that we have grown to love. Before the internet and email became readily available, sending letters was the only way to keep in touch (or K*I*T* according to my yearbook) with friends. International calls was an option that my parents vetoed from the start as each minute cost a small fortune.

Snail mail is by far one of the most intimate forms of communication between two people. From picking out stationary, drawing doodles and choosing the right words; every step is a process that involves precious time and effort. Each letter is personalized and unique to the addressee, making the experience even more exciting and special. None of this mass email update and send-to-all contacts nonsense that we’ve grown accustomed to.

I keep all the letters and postcards I receive!

I keep all the letters and postcards I receive!

We live in a time where we thrive on instant gratifications. Whether it is from a like, a retweet or a reblog, the satisfaction comes quickly and leaves even faster. That shot of dopamine makes us want to post more, tweet more  just to feel that momentary happiness again. Like drinking soda while dehydrated, you’re left wanting more. When you receive an actual letter in your mailbox, you’re left with happiness that lingers longer than a quick Facebook wall post. Thanks to the internet, the effort and speed of maintaining relationships have both been drastically reduced. Thus receiving a letter has become especially meaningful as the time and effort to write something on a piece of paper have almost become extinct.

One of my close friends has sent a series of these beautiful side-by-side comparisons of different places and things

One of my close friends has sent a series of these beautiful side-by-side comparisons of different places and things

 

Awesome postcard from my friend Sean

Awesome postcard from my friend Sean

Snail mail may be a lost art form to the younger generation, but it is one that I cling even harder now (you’re welcome postal service.) Instead of sending out long-winded letters of all my day-to-day life updated (that’s what Twitter is for), I have turned to sending postcards. Lots and lots of postcards. The limited space for writing is a welcomed challenge for my creative brain. Sentences are replaced with haikus (as they are the only form of poetry I can manage) and doodles substituted with the  picture on the back.

Picking out unique postcards has become a lovely pastime. I never hesitate to buy a stack if I stumble across a good design as it gives me more motivation to send them out. If they don’t end up in someone’s mailbox, they usually end up on my wall:

My bedroom wall

My bedroom wall

Do you still send/receive snail mail? When was the last time you received mail?

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