Once again, I bring you news from the world of mail!
You may have known (or perhaps you didn’t) that April is National Letterwriting Month — time to break out the special stationery, peculiar perforations, and unusual envelopes. Of course, I shouldn’t really have to provide a reason (excuse?) for you to assemble the tools of happiness in one place, but I understand: once in awhile, it helps to have a little -ahem- validation, a bit of the “no really, I think it’s quite alright that you have A4 envelopes in every size/paper weight/color known to man” .
So I’m here to be your cheerleader.
Explains the USPS: “To mark this special time of creative correspondence and the friendly exchange of passionate, poignant prose, the Postal Service is extending this popular campaign by carrying it over into May, culminating with the writing and sending of cards and letters for Mother’s Day, May 11.” Says Postmaster General John E. Potter: “National Card and Letter Writing Month is an opportunity for all Americans to rediscover the timeless and very personal art of letter writing; since the beginning of recorded history, famous people, from Moses to Martin Luther King Jr., have written letters that helped shape the destinies of entire nations.”
Three cheers for that! Missive makers and mail artists, gather your tools of choice!
How will you celebrate? Who will you send mail to? Perhaps you establish a specific goal for yourself (“I’ll write a postcard a day!”) or get in touch with someone you’ve fallen out of contact with (college roommate/best friend from high school/treasured auntie)? If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then I’ll assume we share some common traits: you love sending things through the mail, as well as receiving them. It’s that notion of “give/receive” that is crucial to mail art and writing letters, the sentiment that one can build a feeling of community via the mailbox.
Often, when mailing something away to someone, I spend just as much time considering their reaction. Perhaps my letter will somehow make a bad day better. A silly joke or gag written on the front of a postcard might invoke a fit of giggles; perhaps a zany, “object de mail art” inspires a conversation around the work water-cooler. That’s the truly amazing thing about mail: people respond to it, in one way or another. When you send something to somebody, it lets them know you were thinking of them. Often, we can write things on the back of a postcard that we would have a hard time telling another person out loud.
Here then, are a few tidbits to get you jump-started, to start April off with a –bang!–. Whether you’re interested in getting a new pen-pal (and who isn’t, really?) or looking for a bit of inspiration (from Crane’s, of course!), I have hand-picked a few of my favorites, and share them with you.
— Crane’s “Letters You Keep” contest from 2008; an amazing look at the letters people cherish and save, through thick and thin…
— purveyors of postal delights: the Letter Writers Alliance. Need I say more?
— Becky and Chris of “Going Postal” will be more than happy to help you find a pen-pal…
— my friends Ward and Linnea over at Atelier Gargoyle provided the incredible sealing wax you see in the photos above. It has a bit of rubber in it, so that it won’t crumble or break going thru the mails! (PS: they’ll custom-design a wax seal for you…don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
— last but not least: the “Unwritten Letters” project; don’t let this happen to you!
In all things postal,
I remain —