There's a new bookstore in my neighborhood--Book Country. On my initial visit, I was surprised--and delighted--to see a table with stationery and pens and a sign inviting customers to write a letter and leave it to be mailed. There was a sign with the number of letters the store had mailed so far--over 150, as I recall. Then I realized that I didn't have any addresses with me--although now, of course, typing this, I am having that "V8" moment (from the commercial where someone would slap their head and exclaim, "I could've had a V8!"): I had my phone with me! No, wait, addresses are in my laptop. But I think I can put them in my phone too.
OK. Back to the point of this blog post. Letters. The old fashioned kind.
I have a weakness for stationery, pens and stamps. I enjoy writing letters and postcards, and am happy when I receive them. I still send holiday cards, writing personal notes on each one. I have blogged about reading copies of letters my relatives wrote during World War II (see: Dear Charles). I've written a short story in letter form--"A Letter to My Brother," published in Night Shadows, edited by Greg Herren and J.M. Redmann--and I'd like to write an epistolary novel one day.
For the past three years, February has been A Month of Letters. http://wwww.lettermo.com. The challenge is to mail something each day that the post runs during that month.
The first year that I did A Month of Letters I signed up for Postcrossing http://www.postcrossing.com, to help me find people to write to. The computer assigns you someone to send a postcard to; once they receive it and register it, your name will be given to someone to send a postcard to you. It's fun exchanging postcards with strangers from other countries. They write to me about their jobs, hobbies, children, and pets, where they've traveled or would like to travel to, reminding me that we're all connected.
I also participate from time to time in More Love Letters http://www.moreloveletters.com, which also involves writing to strangers.
Every February I post a notice on my personal Facebook page inviting my friends to send me their snail mail addresses so I can write them a letter. But very few people respond. Maybe receiving and reading letters is a lost pleasure: the texture of the paper, the image on the card, the tidy (or not) handwriting, taking the time to read it.
How long has it been since you've received something other than bills or junk mail from your postal carrier? If you'd like me to send you a letter or postcard, email your snail mail address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, using the subject heading "Letter Request." In the body of the message, please specify "Letter" or "Postcard," and give me a prompt: a favorite quotation, a dream or wish, the last book you read or a film you loved--you get the idea. Then start checking your mail box. The non-electronic one.