Are you looking for some mid-summer inspiration? Well, I have something fun for you -- epistolary literature. You’re probably more familiar with this genre than you know! Epistolary comes from the Greek work, epistolē, which means letter.
Epistolary writing use letters or journal entries to tell a story. These pieces are always a fun read because they give a real-life perspective of the main character without interference from a narrator. In other words, we hear the reader’s thoughts and feelings in an intimate way that fosters unique connection and insight.
A few examples you might be familiar with are:
- The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank (nonfiction)
- The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis (fiction)
- The Color Purple, Alice Walker (fiction)
When I read epistolary books, I simply enjoy the intimacy and journey of following the writer's thoughts and emotions, without barriers. I also learn techniques for expressing myself in my own letters. I re-read phrases that convey thoughts and emotions poignantly and notice salutation and sign-offs I’d like to adapt.
Most of all, I appreciate that putting thoughts on a page is an exercise in honesty and vulnerability. Whether the words are intended for an audience or a private diary, it takes guts to be still, know our own mind and heart, and develop a practice of writing it down.
Enjoy learning and loving the art of letter writing, my friends. Be sure to pass on your book recommendations too!