Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Letter Writing is NOT Dead or Lost!

In working on this blog, I'm always on the lookout for stories about letter writing and "snail mail." Too frequently, the stories I come across have headlines such as "Snail Mail is Dead!" or "The Lost Art of Letter Writing."

Well, I hate to disappoint those writers of dramatic headlines, but letter writing is not dead or lost!

Of course, with all of the different forms of communication available today — phones, email, texting, video chatting, Twitter, Facebook, etc., — people are writing fewer letters. We are reminded about how few letters people send nowadays with every news story about the postal service.

But, still, there are many people worldwide who still write letters! The Letter Writers Alliance has more than 4,000 members, many of whom are signed up for the penpal service. Sendsomething.net has more than 600 people registered who just enjoy sending and receiving things in the mail. Postcrossing has almost 500,000 members worldwide who have sent/received a total of 25,149,931 postcards. According to the Postcrossing website, that's an average of 1,222 postcards an hour. Snail mail is not dead!

There are dozens of blogs and websites dedicated to letter writing and/or all of the things that go along with snail mail...stationery, pens, inks, etc. There are Facebook pages and Twitter trends and Pinterest boards all dedicated to letter writing.

If you write letters, write more and let the world know about through whatever means you have available (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc.). If you haven't started writing letters yet, get to writing! 

(Photo of all that mail courtesy of the USPS.com Newsroom)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Snail Mailing

I just love coming across new blogs — or blogs that are new to me — that are about letter writing, snail mail, mail art or other such topics. Sometimes they offer information on how to write a letter. Others focus on their incoming and outgoing mail.

Today, I found two "new" blogs. Naomi's blog is about much more than correspondence, but she does have a link on the right side of her page to all of her snail mail posts. The most recent post features a list of letter writing-related things online. More things to explore! She even has a novel titled "Airmail"!

Over at Snail Mail Lady, Christine displays several of the notecards she makes. Christine's profile IDs her as a rural mail carrier in Wisconsin. She creates some nice cards!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Handwritten Letter to go on Auction Block

According to an article on the Daily Mail's website, a letter written by Lord Horatio Nelson in 1795 will go on the auction block next month. (Ignore the MailOnline bullet-point that says the letter was written in 1975. That's just a typo. Lord Nelson died in 1805.)

The letter is interesting — and maybe worth more — because it was written by Lord Nelson with his right hand two years before he lost his arm in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

According to the article, the letter will be auctioned by Hansons Auctioneers and Valuers on Sept. 27 and is expected to bring bids as high as £10,000 (almost $17,000, US).

You can also read more about Lord Nelson and some of his other letters on the BBC website.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Write a letter today!

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As the daily news reminds us over and over again, we have but a brief time on this earth to do what we're going to do. Let's not waste it by putting off what we really want to do. Spend your time wisely and happily.

Don't hesitate to write that letter today. Write more than one. Write another one tomorrow. Connect with people you haven't seen for a while. Tell them how much they mean to you. Make plans to get together.

No, a letter won't cure someone's depression or fix everyone's problems, but you have a better chance of helping someone who needs help, even if it's yourself, if you do something rather than nothing. Reach out.

Let go of the excuses.

No stationery? Write on any scrap of paper you can find, the back of a sales flyer, a paper grocery bag. There's paper all around.

No envelope? You don't have to have one. Fold your writing paper into a homemade fold-a-note; write the letter on the inside and the address on the outside. If you can, tape it closed.

No postcard? Cut the front off that box of PopTarts you had for breakfast and scribble a note on the back of it, leaving room for the address or taping the address to the front.

No stamp? Scrounge up 49 cents and buy one at your nearest post office. (It only costs 34 cents to mail a postcard in the US. Note: postcards must be no smaller than 3.5 by 5 inches and no larger than 4.25 by 6 inches for that price.) If you can't find 34 or 49 cents, hand-deliver the letter.

No one to write to? Write to a family member or an old friend. Write to your neighbor. Write to a soldier. Write to a stranger and leave the letter on a park bench or a bus seat. Sign up for Postcrossing or some other letter writing project. Browse through some of the posts on this blog for places to find penpals. I've written on the topic several times.

Don't wait. Write a letter today!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Letter Writing Topics

Are you interested in writing more letters but sometimes don't know what to write about? That can especially be an issue if you're writing to a new penpal you don't know very well or are participating in a mail art swap or postcard project. What do you have to write about to someone you don't know?

A fun way of finding something to write about is to look up "fun holidays" on the Internet. Of course, they're not official holidays, most of the time, and they are often silly. But, such celebrations can spark an idea for a letter.

For example, Wednesday, Aug. 13, is Left Handers Day, an observance first celebrated by the Left Handers Club in 1992. Write a letter about whether you are left-handed or right-handed or ambidextrous. If that's not interesting enough, then take the general idea and expand on it. Are you different than most of the people around you? (Only about 13 percent of the population is left-handed.) How so? How do you deal with it?

Then, on Aug. 14, those who love the flavor combination of orange and vanilla will be celebrating National Creamsicle Day. Write a letter about your favorite frozen summer treat. Do you like Creamsicles? How about ice cream sandwiches or snow cones?

For a holiday with a little more of a serious tone to it, Saturday, Aug. 16, will be National Honey Bee Day. The theme for this year's observation is "Sustainable Gardening Begins with Honey Bees." Do you have something to write about that topic?

A quick search online will provide you with more information on these topics, if you need or want it. But, often just the idea is enough to get you going on a letter. Once you get into writing the letter, just let your natural conversational style take over and write as if you're talking to an old friend.

Happy letter writing!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Snail Mail Project

Kate blogs at Day Old Sushi, and she's been writing letters lately. You can read about her project on the blog and see her favorite mail art ideas on her Pinterest board. On her blog, she says she's specifically looking for fun snail mail ideas. Drop by and leave her a comment when you get a chance.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

New US Stamps Salute Farmers


These new Farmers Market stamps are gorgeous! I can't wait to buy some!

In a ceremony today at the FRESHFARM Market by the White House, the U.S. Postal Service issued the four colorful stamps saluting America’s farmers markets.

“For years the Postal Service has celebrated — through the power of stamps — America’s
agricultural abundance,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, according to a news release on the USPS website. “Postage stamps have depicted fruit, flowers, corn and a bread wagon. Today, we’re celebrating farmers markets, which are a popular and communal pastime for many Americans, with the issuance of these four beautiful stamps.”

USPS art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, Va., designed the first-class Forever stamps, which were illustrated by Robin Moline of Lakeland, Minn. The design isn't just for stamps — Notecards, a framed art display and a variety of philatelic items are also available.

Visit the USPS website today to order your fill of the Farmers Market stamps and related items.
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