Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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On my first day of International Correspondence Writing Month I was completely surprised by my friend in New Jersey. He started early and mailed a letter to me so that it arrived on the very first day—way to go, Marc. You completely shocked me. I started to unpack my desk drawer full of cards, writing paper, and postcards and found that the situation is much more serious that I thought it was. I knew I had hoarded some paper goods, but I drastically underestimated the volume of my stash. I have removed less than half of the contents of the drawer and have a selection on the table of at least 200 different ways to send mail in February. I found 7 plain vintage postcards of unknown age, that my mom left me with 2 cents postage printed on the front. I am going to send one of those to the Postmaster General in case it has some value.
I have cards from all over the world, and I still think they are as artful as the day I bought them. I found 2 copies of my high school graduation invitation, so for the first day I gave my neighbor an invitation to my graduation. We joke about having too much stuff stored in our houses all the time, so she was the perfect recipient of this 49 year old card for which nobody has any earthly use. I found another copy and wish I could find somebody who went to that high school to be the surprise recipient of the other. I might work on that because it would be funny.
Maybe I will just get into mailing things and keep sending them until they are all gone, but that would take years of daily diligence. This is a crossroads, for sure. I need to use these paper goods or release them to another more loving home where they will be used and appreciated. I am now even more pleased to have decided to join the correspondence challenge in February now that i review my vast collection. I realize the people to whom I mail these cards will get a charge out of them, and I have the possibility of freeing up a large drawer in my desk to use for other purposes. Win/win. If you want to help me win the battle of the paper drawer send me your mailing address, gentle reader. Thanks.
The month of February, known for Valentine cards, is also the month for #InCoWriMo, international correspondence writing month. I have started a bullet journal to switch at least some of my writing to my own hand, but I am slow getting started on that project. I heavily rely on digital media to both send and receive everything. When I discovered this challenge to send or hand deliver one hand written note, postcard, or card each day for the month of February I was nostalgic for my old pen pal of childhood. My pen pal lived in England and was also a Brownie Scout. Many of my fellow scouts burned out fast on writing letters, but I stayed in touch with mine for several years. I started sending letters to Ann of England around second grade and carried on until about sixth, I think. I remember the gifts she sent me at Christmas, but I don’t remember what I sent her. I know there was an effort to make the gift represent America somehow. I also was forced to write to my grandparents and send thank you notes to anyone who gave me anything or invited me to go anywhere. I had to write a legal pad page of cursive every day at my father’s orders because I got a C in handwriting in school, which was not acceptable. I hated doing that intensely, but I adored buying fancy stationery and writing to my pen pal. I think I can revive the excitement by writing by and to people all over the world next month.
I know some dedicated print and mail specialists who make sure they stay active by sending letters and snail mail. My friend Marc Zazeela, @MZazeela, has been a logistics and shipping expert for his entire professional career. He knows all there is to know about sending anything anywhere at the best rate. He serves commercial and international clients, but is a strong proponent of sending handwritten notes. Hellen Rittersporn, @HELENSstudio, writes a wonderful blog all about letterwritting called Anchored Scraps in which she stays current with stamps, pens, history of correspondence and more. She is naturally on board for the February challenge, and has written this very informative piece on the subject.
There are many famous folks who want to receive letters, such as the Postmaster General of the United States. Many more of us not so famous people have set the intention of finishing this challenge by publishing our mailing addresses on the site for sharing. The website and e mail reminders you will receive when you sign up are very helpful and inspirational. They have designed a planning calendar to help you design a strategy, or just fill your dance card:
Now there is a crustacean on instagram running a contest associated with the program. countcrustaceo is running a contest to make things more interesting. Now you can’t say this is not fun: