Letters

Writer: Masahito Ono

  Sunrise in winter, Stockholm Sweden  (2015)

Sunrise in winter, Stockholm Sweden (2015)

If you are very young, you might not have much experience receiving actual hand-written letters. I still write letters and I enjoy receiving and reading letters. When I was a young kid, I used to wait in front of mailbox in my apartment, a postman to arrive and drop off the postcards on January 1st. How anxious I was to look for the name of a girl I then liked and how exciting it was to find her name! I don’t know in other countries, but in Japan, we send New Year Postcards at the end of the year to thank people for the past year and to celebrate the new year. It gets delivered to you on the first day of the year. Sadly this long tradition is fading away from my country.

I am grateful that I still have people who send letters to me. I believe I received over 50 letters in the past 2 years from various people and I probably had written the same amount. I don’t know if people care much when they write/read something but I like choosing paper and choosing inks. I often use blues to write; I use Blue(s)! I have at least five different blue inks (I use fountain pens). Turquoise Blue, Azure Blue, Blue Gray, Purple Blue and Vivid Purple Blue, just to name a few. Often the choice is made according to season. You may say that you can do the same thing with e-mail and choose colors for text, but you cannot write letters without using your hand! Letters can contain more than just your message. You will probably understand what the letter really is when you write one to your loved one. And I hope in the end of the letter, you say that you love the person. A person I know whom lost her husband once said, I believe it was at the funeral, I hope you say I love you to someone you love because you might not be able to say so the next day, no matter how much you wish to say so.

Hear is one letter I really like to read. It was written by an American photographer Ansel Adams to his friend Cedric in 1937. Occasionally, I read this letter. Everytime I read it, I like it more.

 Photo: Ansel Adams

Photo: Ansel Adams

June 19, 1937

Dear Cedric,

A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that related to those who are loved and those who are real friends.

For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be.

Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not only of flesh and blood — children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.

Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.

Art is both love and friendship, and understanding; the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of Things, it is more than kindness which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the inter-relations of these.

I wish the thundercloud had moved up over Tahoe and let loose on you; I could wish you nothing finer.

Ansel

P.S. this just came up to my mind: writing a letter probably helps you become a better artist. Why? because you are writing it to someone other than yourself.