With coronavirus lockdown keeping us physically apart, creative ways of keeping in touch have prompted a return to a more traditional form: letters. In late march, the Republic of Ireland's postal service sent each household two free stamps and postcards to encourage people to write to each other under lockdown. It has since reported an increase in non-business, person-to-person mail. Seventeen-year-old Riona Nolan began writing to her grandmother. "You have to really think about what you're going to write instead of just shooting a text with a few words in it," she says. At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, education lecturers Alison LaGarry and Lucia Mock asked their students to write letters to their future selves, as a way of documenting these strange times. The letters are then posted online so classmates can read them and reply. "Letters encourage us to be vulnerable," Dr. LaGarry says, "but it's also a format in which we feel comfortable saying more personal things."

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