11 February 2013

Sending more than love letters

I grew up writing letters.  It was more than protocol, it was a family tradition connecting us to relatives and friends across the continent.  I vividly remember grappling with "of" (uve, uhv, uuuhf?) once while gleefully hammering out a typewriter letter to my grandmother. 

That was definitely back in the day.

Today, writing letters (and yes, emails) maintains bonds stretched even further, aaaallll the way out to eastern Canada where we now live.  Tokens of nothingness, missives about loneliness and language frustrations, celebrations about summer harvests and cultural discoveries - all scrawled across sheets of honest-to-goodness tangible paper - have traversed the continent for the past two years.

Call me "old school." Old-fashioned. Out-of-date.


But out of touch?

You've heard it before, you have probably thought it yourself. There is something intrinsically g o o d about a real live letter. It's not the same as an email. 

I'm not talking about the bills and junk mail, not the weekly coupons for grocery stores where you never go. I mean the real letters, the ones with handwritten addresses, stamps stuck on crooked, envelopes bent or smudged on the way to the mail. 

It matters, knowing someone's hands touched it. Someone's elbow grease pushed the pen across the page. Someone picked out the postcard, pen, and paper - perhaps in haste, perhaps with utmost deliberation.

Someone licked that envelope.  Their dried saliva is rubbing off on your fingers.

That is in touch.  

That is precisely why I signed up for InCoWriMo - International Correspondence Writing Month.  Instead of Valentines, this year I am sending vintage postcards scrounged up in local second hand stores.  If you leave your mailing address in the comments, and promise to write back, you're guaranteed a letter this month.

Here's an excerpt for the newspaper article I wrote about it last week:
"The objective is to write at least one letter each day, or a total of 28 letters during the month. Letters must be postmarked or delivered in February; delivery by hand or Canada Post qualify. All letters must be handwritten, but there is no minimum length – a postcard or an opus both fit the criteria." Click here to read the whole (brief) article.
It's not too late - just double up on your letters for a few days to get back on track.

A postcard per day, for the month = ~1 cm.
Pro tip: Vintage postcards at second-hand stores are
likely to be less expensive than at antique stores.

Apparently, even the British Queen is participating.  You can writer her at:
Her Majesty The Queen, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom.  

Do you still send handwritten letters?

What do you think I should write about, if I write the Queen?


Christie said...

My oldest friend and I have been carrying on a handwritten correspondence for more than 30 years. And each week I send postcards to family and friends. I use my original photos as the postcards or sometimes I paint a card. Getting "real" mail is "intrinsically good" as you say. My name is Christie Juhasz, 3252 Vinoy Pl., Sarasota, FL 34239. I promise to write back! :)

Bethann said...

Hi Christie!
Thanks for writing!  I'll add you to my list straightaway.

I'm curious, how did you find fruit.root.leaf?  It's always nice to hear from new readers. :)

Christie said...

 I took a class from Dion Dior and follow her blog, so I believe it was when you did a contribution to When Artists Cook that I found your blog.

Bethann said...

Oh, I see!  It's great to hear there's been some carryover from that project.  Welcome to fruit.root.leaf!

Scott said...

The neat part about your “id” on what you publish is the “BG” Merkle name---I lived in Bowling Green, Ohio the first 20 years of my life and we always refer to it as “BG” ---kinda feels good as a reference for me when I see B. G. Merkle.

Bethann said...

Hi Scott,That's a really neat thing to hear!  Thank you for sharing that story.  Glad to give you a little smile. :)

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