Friday, December 31, 2010

Letter #365 -- The last one of the year

If you started this project back on Jan. 1, 2010, on that day you wrote a letter to yourself to be opened on this day, Dec. 31, 2010. So, dig around and find that letter, read it and think about it. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Are you on track, or did you decide that was the wrong direction and now you're on to something new? Have you changed? Write a letter today, looking back over 2010, reviewing the year and yourself, let someone know what you've accomplished, where you failed and what you're proud of.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Forever Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service has decided to make all forthcoming first-class postage stamps "Forever" stamps. That means that when you buy a first-class stamp, it will be good for "forever" to mail a 1-ounce, first-class domestic piece of mail, even if the postage rate goes up in the future.

You can read more about it here.

Letter #364 -- Plans?

On this next to the last day of 2010, write a letter about your New Year's plans. Not just your New Year's Eve plans for celebrating, but include your plans for 2011. Let someone out there in the world know what you hope to accomplish this coming year.

Letter writing topic for Dec. 30, 2010

Year of the Written Letter

Jenni Parks in Virginia has declared on her blog, Testament to Grace, that this upcoming year 2011 will be the Year of the Written Letter in her household. She has some great reasons for returning to letter writing! Let's wish her well in her endeavor.

The $39 Experiment

I was reading Jessica Armtstrong's "Snail Mail Aficionado" blog and came across her mention of "The $39 Experiment," an interesting and rather funny project by Tom Locke that involved writing 100 letters. It seems that Locke is planning another project, but it's not detailed yet.

Letter #363 -- A tall glass of ______________

What do you like to drink? Down here in Texas, we usually drink iced tea, no matter what the weather outside is. Now, some like it pre-sweetened with sugar -- that's "Sweet Tea" -- and others prefer it unsweetened or artificially sweetened. Another favorite around here is Dr Pepper, a soft drink invented in Waco, Texas, in 1885. Write a letter about what you're drinking.

Combining Good Deeds and Letter Writing

Kimbirdy at the "Fill Your Well" blog recently wrote about how you can use your letter writing passion to brighten someone's day. She lists several organizations that help letter writers send mail to sick children to brighten their days. The blog and the websites are worth your time!

Letter #362 -- On the big screen

What was the last movie you watched? Are you the type to rush down to the theater as soon as a new release comes out? Or, do you wait around till it comes out on DVD or on TV? What types of movies do you prefer? Comedies? Dramas? Action flicks? Write a letter about it.

A tale of pen pals

I recently read an interesting article, "Chinese painting stands witness to renewal of friendship" in the Columbia Missourian. It's a story about long-time pen pals and their struggle to keep in touch.

Letter #361 -- Fido and Fifi

What kind of a pet do you have (or wish you had)? A cat? A dog? A bird? A fish? Something more exotic? Write a letter about your pet. Tell someone why you have that pet.

If you liked "Julie and Julia"...

...then you might just like a new book, "As Always, Julia." The book features the correspondence between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto. It is edited by Joan Reardon. You can read more about the book at the Boston Globe.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mourning Letters?

I recently read an article about a website dedicated to "mourning letters," something I've never heard of. Apparently, Your Leaves Grow Down Into the Earth is a Slovakian blog. It is interesting and has some great scans of old letters and photos.

Letter #360 -- Woo Hoo!

Write a letter about something you're excited about....your new blog, a new toy, a great vintage find you made at the thrift store, the grade you got on your last term paper...look into your life and figure out what excites you...now write about it in a letter.

Garrison Keillor on Letter Writing

Somehow, in all my letter writing research, I've just now come across this essay on "How to Write a Letter" by Garrison Keillor. It is superb, so elegantly written! I found a copy of the essay on Annie Cristina's blog, "My Sweet Old Etcetera."

Here's just a taste of it:

Such a sweet gift - a piece of handmade writing, in an envelope that is not a bill, sitting in our friend's path when she trudges home from a long day spent among wahoos and savages, a day our words will help repair. They don't need to be immortal, just sincere. She can read them twice and again tomorrow: You're someone I care about, Corrine, and think of often and every time I do you make me smile.

Letter #359 -- Share your happiness

Write a letter of hope, peace and joy.

An interesting stamp on the horizon

According to "World Stamp News," in February, India will issue its first cloth stamp. The stamp, to be printed on khadi, will feature a portrait of Mahatma Ghandi.

Letter #358 -- Passing Along the Tradition

Write a letter to a younger relative, sharing with him or her the family tradition of letter writing. Tell them why you like writing and receiving letters. Send along some paper, envelopes, a pen and some stamps, as well as your address. Maybe you'll get a letter in return.

Continuing Discussion on Handwriting

I suppose it is inevitable that cursive handwriting will eventually disappear from our culture. Most schools that I know of do not put a priority on teaching the children to write cursive. So long as what they write is readable and they know how to use a computer, no one cares.

Here's an article from the St. Petersburg Times about handwriting: A disappearing art, cursive writing is part of Florida's script

If you'll notice, over on the right side of the story, about one-third to halfway down the page, is a list of related links. You might find something else there you're interested in, as well.

Letter #357 -- Connecting with an older generation

Write a letter to an older generation. Be respectful yet friendly. Wish them well and fill them in on a little bit of your life. Invite them to write you back and start up a regular correspondence.

Safe Pen Palling

In today's world of scams, identity theft, etc., some people may be concerned about writing letters to a complete stranger, a pen pal, someone they've never met before. This http://www.ehow.co.uk/list_7629803_snail-pen-pal-safety-tips.html article offers some tips for pen pal safety. There are some good ideas in the article.

Letter #356 -- A long time ago

What is your favorite childhood memory? Do you remember a special birthday? A kind word a teacher said? Your best friend? The way your room looked? Think back and share your favorite childhood memory in a letter.

What a lovely blog!

I just came across "...In Love With Snail Mail," a blog by Nina. She blogs about letters, postcards, etc. And, she has a very nicely designed blog!

Letter #355 -- Oops

Write a letter admitting a mistake you've made. If you need to, write the letter to a person who was affected by your mistake, apologizing, if necessary. On the other hand, if you put salt in your coffee this morning instead of sugar, and you want to share the funny story, write that letter. If you just need to write the mistake down on paper but you don't want anyone to really read it, make this one of those letter you toss in the fireplace after you've written it.

Mail Art

There are some great examples of Mail Art over at the "Pages of Paper" blog. Check it out!

Letter #354 -- I read it in a magazine

Write a letter about your favorite magazine. Do you still get a copy of it in the mail? Why do you like it? If you have a copy to spare, include it with the letter!

About letter writing and more

JoAnna C. writes "A Peachy Life" blog, posting about snail mail, handmade crafts, etc. Visit her blog and see what she's writing about!

Letter #353 -- A winter's memory

As the weather turns colder (in the Northern Hemisphere, where I'm writing from), think of some of your favorite Winter memories. Do you remember building snowmen? Having snowball fights? Bundling up and going for a walk in a winter wonderland? Write about your memories in a letter!

The language of love

"Snail Mail" is #4 on the list of "6 Ways to Say I Love You ... Without Saying It" on the Morning Coach blog. The author of the piece, Rachel Aubrey, says:

With instant communication so prominent, we don’t often get anything in the mail except junk catalogs and bills. Imagine his or her surprise to find a little handwritten note from you arriving at home or work? A little reminder to say you are beautiful / handsome, and appreciated. Maybe include a clipping from something you read on the way to work. A comic. A crossword. Anything that made you smile and think of them. Taking the time to write, stamp, and seal an envelope says you are worth the extra effort. Because you “could have” sent the same message in an easier way.

Letter #352 -- From cyberspace to real-life

Write a letter to someone on your Facebook "Friends" list. Of course, you don't want to be a stalker, but pick out someone you really know and whose address you know and write him or her a letter. They'll be surprised to get some snail mail from you!

Bad Postcards

When I was wandering through the Letter Parade blog, I came across a link to this site: Bad Postcards. It's pretty funny! Take a look.

Letter #351 -- Bonus!

Sometimes, when we're bored and the lottery jackpot is up really high, we like to play a game we (not-so-creatively) play, "What if we won the lottery?" We think of all the things we'd do with the millions we'd won. Of course, since we rarely play the lottery, our chances of winning aren't very high.

Write a letter about what you would do with an extra $100. If someone just walked up to you and said, "Here' $100. Spend it however you want to." What would you do? Pay bills? Have an extravagant dinner? Buy a new pair of shoes? Write a letter about it!

Another letter writing blog!


I just came across Cindy Gonzales-Kujat's blog, Letter Parade. She writes about letters, the postal service, postcards, pen pals, mail art and more, or as she says on the blog, "everything about the old-school way of communicating." It's a great blog! Drop by for a visit.

Letter #350 -- WWW.

Write a letter about your favorite website. Do you go there to shop, read, sell? Don't forget to include the website e-address in your letter!

Teaching kids about the Postal Service

Here's an interesting story about a school that teaches the students about the postal service, as well as about writing letters.

Letter #349 -- Get well soon!

Write a letter to someone who is in the hospital. If they've been sick but are expected to recover, write a "get well soon" type of letter. If a quick recovery is not anticipated, write a more generic, yet cheerful letter, letting him or her know  you care.

Eco Letter Writing

Julie at the blog The Letter Writing Revolution recently wrote about "Letter Writing and the Environment." She has some great ideas for making your letter writing "greener."

Letter #348 -- ??

Write a letter asking a question. What question? Why, any question you can think of. Write to a business and ask them about a product you use or are thinking about using. Write to a friend and ask where she bought that sweater you admire so much. Write to a celebrity and ask him or her what their middle name is. Engage your curiosity and ask a question!

History in Letters

The letters of the late Leslie Fargher tell the history of Freeport, Ill. Read about the letters in the Freeport Journal-Standard.

Letter #347 -- What's Ahead?

Write a letter about your hopes, dreams and plans for the future.

Every Saturday

Every Saturday, Heather Azano-Brown, at the blog "Notes From the Deep End," posts letters that she has exchanged with her long-time pen pal. Heather designs cards and loves to write letters. Check out her site!

Letter #346 -- Good Eats

Write a letter about and including your favorite recipe. Tell your letter's recipient why you like the recipe (it's easy, it's quick, it's gourmet, someone else makes it, etc.) and any changes you made to the original to make it better.

A librarian's take on letter writing

In the Proviso Herald (in Illinois), librarian Margaret Flanagan writes about letter writing and books on letter writing. It's an interesting little piece.

http://www.pioneerlocal.com/maywood/lifestyles/currents/2930196,maywood-MelLibrary-120210-s1.article

Letter #345 -- Ol' buddy, ol' pal

Write a letter to an old friend. Let them know why you've cherished your friendship for so long.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Letter #344 -- Share a Little of Your Life

What's the most difficult task you have to do all day? Is it at home? At work? Is it something you do for yourself or for someone else?

Write a letter about that difficult task today. It doesn't have to be a whiny letter. You can write about how difficult the task is and how you've worked to master it or overcome issues. Maybe you've learned to do something you never knew how to do before. Maybe you're still working on perfecting it. Tell someone about what you do.

Letter writing topic for Dec. 10, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Letter #343 -- Offer

Today, write a letter offering to help someone with something. If you know of someone specific who needs help with a particular problem or situation, make the offer specific. If not, find a charity or volunteer organization and let them know you're available to help with whatever they need help doing.

Letter writing topic for Dec. 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Letter #342 -- Favorite Song

Today, write a letter to the artist who sings your favorite song. Or, if they're different people, you might consider writing a letter to the writer who wrote your favorite song.

Letter writing topic for Dec. 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Letter #341 -- Cheer!

Write a letter today to cheer up someone. Think of the saddest person you know and write him or her a letter to try and create a smile!

Letter writing topic for Dec. 7, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Letter #340 -- St. Nicholas Day


Today, December 6, is St. Nicholas Day. Yes, the same St. Nicholas who is sometimes known as Santa Claus.

But, today's celebration is for the "old" St. Nicholas, the original Saint from the third and fourth centuries. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated in many countries, but rarely in the U.S. In some countries, children put their shoes outside their doors, and in the morning they find coins, candy and/or toys in the shoes.

St. Nicholas, it seems, was a busy man. He is the patron saint of children, sailors, merchants, thieves and students.

Today, in honor of St. Nicholas and his benevolence, write a kind letter to a child or a sailor or a merchant or a student. If you want to write a kind letter to a thief, I guess that'll be OK, too.

Andy Rooney talks about letters

Did you get a chance to see "60 Minutes" on CBS last night? He talked about the letters that he's saved through the years. You can watch the clip here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Letter #339 -- Peace

What makes you feel peaceful? When are you most at peace? Where do you go to find peace?

Write a peace-filled letter today. Let someone know how you are at peace.

Letter writing topic for Dec. 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More comments on writing and reading letters

Syed Badrul Ahsan has an interesting piece on Writing and Reading Letters at the Daily Star website.

In part, he says:
"Time was when we used to write letters. It was an era when people made contact with one another, and over long distances, through letters. Something of the intensely personal came with those letters, something of communication between one heart and another. The beauty about letters was that the soul came with it. Feelings embedded in the heart simply poured forth and once they all came to be encapsulated in letters, we felt something of a burden lifting from us."

More from the NPR series

I came across Julija Šukys' blog about letters and letter-writing, and along with it, the link to another part of the NPR series on the mail. 

Julija is a writer who uses letters a lot in her research. Here's part of what she has to say:

I work with letters because I like the intimacy they afford. Piecing a story together through an unexamined correspondence is a way to tap into untold stories and to break new ground. Reading letters also gives me a glimpse into the ways in which people meld writing and life and make sense of their time on earth.
The NPR segment, Mailed Memories: Your Cherished Letters, includes copies of letters, postcards and other mail that people submitted for the project.




Letter #338 -- Favorite Holiday?

December is probably the most holiday-y month of the year. There are many holidays celebrated in December, from Hanukkah to Christmas to Ashura and the Islamic New Year to Kwanza to many winter solstice events.

What is your favorite holiday all year long? Do you not have a favorite? Not celebrate holidays? Write a letter about your holiday favorite or non-favorite today.

Letter writing topic for Dec. 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Letters & Journals" Newsletter

Have you received the latest copy of the e-newsletter "Letters & Journals"? If not, you should go over to Jackie Flaherty's website, Letters And Journals, and sign up for the free newsletter. The latest issue has an article about pen pals, one about journaling and the results of the November stationery giveaway. You don't want to miss an issue!

Another Point for Snail Mail!

According to a post on the SecondAct blog, requests for charitable donations that come by old-fashioned "snail mail" rather than by e-mail are more likely to be legitimate. Read the full story here.

One Little Boy's Letter

Here's a heart-warming story about one little boy's letter to U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan. Read about Timothy Bernal's letter here.

Letter #337 -- Warm and toasty

I heard on the radio this morning that today is National Hot Chocolate Day. Now, I can't confirm that anywhere. In fact, a variety of internet sources cite such a "holiday" on different days.

But, still, it got me to thinking about hot chocolate. How do you like your hot cocoa? Do you like it plain or with marshmallows? With a dollop of whipped cream on top, maybe some shavings of dark chocolate? Maybe some cinnamon? For the grown-ups, do you like it spiked with a splash of liqueur?

Write a letter today about your favorite way to drink hot chocolate.

Letter writing topic for Dec. 3, 2010


(Clip art from Clips Ahoy! Free Clipart Island!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

147-year-old Love Letter

The "Writing is the Easy Part" blog featured this letter, written in 1863.

What a sweet letter it is!

Letter #336 -- Letter to Santa for a Good Cause

Today, write a letter to Santa and deliver it to a Macy's department store. Macy's has a "Believe" program going. For every Letter to Santa that is delivered to a Santa's Mailbox in a Macy's store, Macy's will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1,000,000.00. Unfortunately, I don't see a way to mail the letter to Macy's, so if you're not near one of their stores, you won't be able to participate. (I'm sure the program is designed to get people into the stores, as well as to help out the charity.)

Letter writing topic for Dec. 2, 2010

Songs about Letters

NPR recently produced a piece on "Songs We Love: Going Postal." It features a list of 10 songs about letters from radio station KUT in Austin. The songs are featured on the website, and then the commenters mention many more letter-related songs.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Letter #335 -- Happy Hanukkah!

 
Do you know someone who celebrates Hanukkah? The eight-day/night holiday begins at sunset tonight. Write a letter to someone who celebrates Hanukkah.

The stamp above is available from the U.S. Postal Service.

Letter writing topic for Dec. 1, 2010

Note Card Giveaway

The Family Friendly Cincinnati blog is having a Note Card Giveaway, featuring the designs of Cards by Katie. There are several ways to enter the contest, and you can check it all out on the blog!

Letter #334 -- Favorite Type of Movie

What type of movie do you like to watch? Comedies? Romances? Actions? Thrillers?

This past weekend, we watched "November Christmas," a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. We always try to watch the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies...they're usually great shows, and this one was no exception.

Write about your movie preferences in a letter.

Letter #333 -- New recipe

Have you tried a new recipe lately? Share it with someone in a letter! Include not only the letter but your thoughts on the recipe, as well. Let your friend know how it tasted, whether or not you made any adjustments, etc.

Haven't tried anything new lately? Find a recipe, try it out and then write a letter about it!

Letter #332 -- Enclose something!

When you write your next letter, find a little something to enclose, a sheet of stickers, an extra notecard, a book of stamps, a collectible coin, anything you think your letter's recipient would enjoy. Just slip it into the envelope, and don't forget to check and see if you need more postage! Your surprise will be appreciated.

Envelope Wrap

I was browsing the Viva Snail Mail blog recently, when I came upon an entry about the TapeSwell company, which sells a delightful product called Envelope Wrap. It's a combination label-decoration that adds an element of class to any envelope. They also sell all sorts of decorative tape, which can be used to dress up any package. Take a look for yourself!

Letter #331 -- Picture This!

Write a letter and include a picture of your town. Maybe you can take a photo of your favorite restaurant or the park where you like to go sit and write letters. Maybe you can shoot a photo of the post office where you mail your letters. Share a bit of your hometown with your letter's recipient.

Letter #330 -- Silliest Thing

What's the silliest thing you've read or seen on the news lately? Was it the story about Justin Bieber's haircut? How about those two football players who got into a fist-fight? What is it in the news that you think is too silly to be reported? Write about the silliness in a letter.

Letter #329 -- Favorite Color

What's your favorite color? Do you have one? Does your favorite color change from situation to situation? Maybe you prefer to wear burnt orange, yet you painted your bedroom a soothing blue, and your kitchen is decorated in bright yellow? How do colors affect you? Write about your favorite color(s) in a letter.

(Clip art courtesy of http://www.webweaver.nu)

Letter #328 -- Dear Cousin

Has Facebook or some other social networking site put you in touch with relatives you'd almost forgotten about? Are you now "friends" with a long-lost cousin? How about taking it offline and writing that cousin a letter. I'm sure she/he will appreciate a "real" letter!

Letter #327 -- Plain or Fancy?

Do you consider yourself plain or fancy? Of course, neither one is better than the other, but some people prefer things simple and plain, while others like life all frilly and fancy. Which do you like best? Write about it in a letter! Let your letter show your personality. If you're a fancy-type person, use some fancy stationery. If your style is plain, use a simple, yet nice, notepaper.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Rules of Snail Mail"

Shawna Coronado, from the Gardening Nude blog and book, wrote about saving money, staying "green" and still participating in the upcoming greeting card season. She admits that she still sends out a few cards, but she has some really good guidelines for deciding to write and mail a letter. Check out her "Rules of Snail Mail."

Letter #326 -- Rock 'n Roll

There was a snippet online today about the first rock and roll song, ever. It seems that a college professor, Joseph Burns of Southeastern Louisiana University, has identified the characteristics of a rock song. Using those characteristics, he has come to the conclusion that "That's All Right Mama," a September 1946 release by Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, was the first rock and roll song.

What do you think? Do you agree? What's your favorite rock and roll song? When was the first time you heard it? What makes it your favorite? Write a letter about it!

Letter #325 -- Addresses

How many home addresses have you had in your life? Have you stayed in the same place for many years, or have you moved frequently? I can count 15 addresses that I've had -- there could be more. And, that's not counting the one address twice -- we lived there, moved away and then moved back. But, it does include a different address each year in college.

Write a letter about the places you've lived, the houses, the addresses, the streets. Tell someone about your life.

Letter #324 -- With Purpose

Write a letter with a purpose, a purposeful letter. What purpose? Well now, that's up to you. What do you need to write about? Who do you need to write something specific to? Don't put it off any longer! Write that letter!

Letter #323 -- Favorite Pen?

What's your favorite writing utensil? Write a letter with your favorite pen (or pencil) about why it's your favorite pen. Do you like a ballpoint? A fountain pen? A rollerball? A gel pen? Why? Do you like a thin, sharp line or a thick, softer line? Has your choice of writing instrument changed through the years? Tell someone about it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Short story about a long pen-friendship

The South Shropshire Journal recently had an article about two women who have been penpals for 50 years. Read about it here.

Letter #322 -- Your BFF

Write a letter to your best friend. Tell her (or him) how much she means to you. Don't hold back your feelings.

Letter #321 -- What's Your Cause?

Do you have a favorite charity? A group that you like to donate money to? An organization that you wish more people knew about? Write a letter about the group and why you support them. You don't have to be pushy, just informative.

Letter #320 -- Do You Like Your Job?

Is your job just a way to pay the bills, or is it your life's passion? Do you love your job? Would you do your job even if you won the lottery? Or, do you dread going to the office every day?

Write a letter about what you do for a living. If you don't work, write about what you used to do for a living or what you would do if you got a job.

Letter #319 -- Paper or Electronic?

If you're interested in letter writing, you probably have some type of affection for paper. But, when it comes to other types of reading....magazines, newspapers, books....what form do you prefer? Do you buy and read the paper and ink productions, or would you rather log online and catch up on the news and other topics electronically?

Write a letter about it!

Letter #318 -- What's for Dinner?

What are you having for dinner? Do you cook from scratch? Do you eat frozen entrees? Do you have delivery or eat out at a restaurant? Whatever you eat and however it's prepared, write a letter about your dinner plans.

Letter From Dad project

Here's an article from the Bolivar, Missouri, newspaper website about the "Letters From Dad" project. It's an interesting project.

Letter #317 -- How do you affect others?

The fortune cookie says, "You are often unaware of the effect you have on others."

Is that true for you? How do you affect others? Do you influence their lives? What do you think others think of you?

Write a letter about it!

Not just a U.S. problem

I'm sure people all over the world think mostly in terms of their own little place on the planet. We all think about the situations that are happening around us, sometimes not realizing that similar problems are happening everywhere. Here in the U.S., there is much discussion about the U.S. Postal Service. With billions of dollars in losses, the service is considering all kinds of options to save money and/or make more money.

But, a quick look around the Internet, shows that the problem isn't just a U.S. problem. Here's a commentary from India and one from Canada.

Letter #316 -- Do you know your letter carrier?

Write a letter about the person who picks up and delivers your mail. If you're passionate about letter writing, you probably send and receive a lot of mail. Where do you mail your letters? From your home mailbox? At the post office? Write a letter about your mailing process!

NPR Series on Postal Service

Last week, NPR (National Public Radio) broadcast a series on "Snail Mail Struggles." The series is online. Clicking on that link, will take you to the various segments of the series, which you can read and/or listen to.

Interesting.

Letter #315 -- Book Review

Write a letter about the latest book you've read. Review the book for your letter's recipient. Haven't read a book lately? Read one! Then, write a letter about it!

Blog about letter writing

Go to the Red Room blog for an interesting posy by Gina Collia-Suzuki about her past letter writing adventures. The post is titled Fangs for the Memories.

Letter #314 -- Extreme weather

As we head into Winter (in the northern hemisphere), cold, icy, snowy weather is on many minds. What type of severe weather do you face in your corner of the world? Ice storms? Thunder storms? Tornadoes? Hurricanes? Killing heat? Write a letter today about the extreme weather in your area and what you and your neighbors do to prepare for weather-related disasters.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Letter #313 -- Fun, fun, fun

We write all sorts of letters...complaint letters, introduction letters, daily life letters, sad letters, bad news letters, etc. Today, let's write a fun letter. Just make it fun. Include a joke or a funny picture you've cut out of a magazine or a comic strip from the newspaper. Dig through your letter writing supplies and find some extra stickers you can send along. Now, think of the person in your address book who is most in need of a fun letter and send it to them!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Letter #312 -- November 11

Many countries observe a day of honor on or near November 11 for armed services veterans. In the United States, the day is Veterans Day. In some other countries, it is Remembrance Day, Poppy Day or Armistice Day.

In preparation for that day, today write a letter to a veteran of your country's armed services. Let him or her know that you appreciate their personal sacrifices for the sake of the country.

Letter writing topic for Nov. 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Letter #311 -- An extra hour

If you live in any part of most of the United States (or in a country or an area of a country that observes Daylight Saving Time) you gained an extra hour today. Specifically, at 2 a.m., the time changed back to 1 a.m.

If you haven't already changed your clocks and watches (or if they didn't automatically change themselves), you're thinking that it's an hour later than it really is. Even if you've already adjusted your time markers, your body is probably still on yesterday-time. That means that you might get hungry before the clock says it's dinner time, and you might be sleepy an hour before your regular bedtime, by the clock. It may take you a few days to get adjusted.

As a mom, I'm going to be happy that in the morning, it should be easier to get my daughter up and at 'em, getting ready for school.

Of course, it's just all a modern-day convenience or inconvenience, depending on how you look at it. The trees and the animals in the wild don't know or care what time we say it it. The sun and the moon don't, either. But, in our "civilized" world, we got an extra hour today. What do you intend to do with yours? Write a letter to a friend, telling them how you're spending your extra hour. (If you aren't dealing with the end of Daylight Saving Time today, write a letter about how you would spend an extra hour, if you were given one.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Letter #310 -- Dreaming

Today, write a letter about a recent dream you've had. I'm talking about those moving pictures you have when you're asleep.

A few weeks ago, my family had our family reunion at one of my cousin's house. It was raining when the get-together started, but the rain let up and we all had a good time, as usual.

Last night, I dreamed that we were at next year's reunion and although it wasn't raining, it was very cold. We had all spent the night at my cousin's house, which we don't normally do. When I woke up in the dream, another cousin was cooking breakfast for her kids. I was wandering around and went outside, where yet another cousin told me that we were going to play a game at 3:30 and then we were all going to leave because it was so cold. I just couldn't believe that it had been a year (in reality, it's only been a few weeks) since the reunion when it rained. When I awoke in real life, I remembered it all, quite clearly.

Do you remember your dreams? If so, write about one in a letter today. You can decide if you want to attempt to analyze your dream. I think I prefer to just remember them.

Letter writing topic for November 6, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Letter #309 -- Annoying computers

The other day, my 10-year-old daughter commented that she just does not understand how people ever lived without computers or TVs or VCRs and DVD players. We just laughed and laughed. "Well, what would people DO without those things?" she demanded to know.

We started listing off activities...read -- books, magazines, newspapers -- play games, write letters, talk to each other, exercise, cook, go see friends, garden. I don't know when we stopped listing off non-electronic things to do, but I'm sure it was long after she rolled her eyes.

More often than not, I wonder how in the world we manage to get through the day in spite of all the electronics in our lives. Thanks to cell phones, we can never actually get away from it all. Thanks to computers, we are bombarded with information all day long.

And, then, when computers break down, we are faced with the frustration of trying to get them repaired and with the inconvenience of suddenly being without what has become our life line. Last week, I mentioned that I had gotten behind on my letter writing topic because of computer problems. Well, they struck again today. This time, I swiftly put the wheels in motion to fix the problems, but still, I lost a lot of data that I rely on. I'll now set about trying to rebuild what I lost.

What are your most annoying electronic problems? What do you do when they strike? Do you ever wish you just lived on the side of a mountain with no electricity at all? Or, do you wish you were so connected to your computer that all you had to do was think and your thoughts would appear on the screen?

Write a letter about your attitude toward electronics today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Smithsonian Exhibit: Mexico Via Airmail

The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum has a new online exhibit, "Mexico Via Airmail," that highlights how Mexico used airmail stamps to promote a progressive national image worldwide following its revolution in 1910.

The Mexican government exported nationalism through images of nature and technology in harmony, comparisons of ancient and contemporary art and culture, and the mix of Ancient Mayan hieroglyphics and fiesta colors with 1960s op-art typography in the 1968 Olympic Games graphic designs. The exhibit, created by Cheryl R. Ganz, the museum's chief curator of philately, is bilingual and features both stamps and mail of Mexico.

Throughout the 20th century, Mexico issued more than 600 airmail stamps. This exhibit features examples of airmail stamps and mail organized in three categories: Nature and Technology, Ancient to Contemporary Culture and the 1968 Olympic Games.

Click here to view the exhibit: www.postalmuseum.si.edu/AragoMexicoViaAirmail

Letter #308 -- To a Friend

Today, think of all your friends and think of one who needs an encouraging word. Maybe your friend is looking for a job or dealing with a stressful job. Maybe he or she is is struggling with a personal issue or a family problem. Even if you don't have the answer to all the problems, you can still write an encouraging letter. Mostly, you need to let your friend know that you care and that you're available to talk anytime they need you.

Letter writing topic for Nov. 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another Letter Writing Blog

I noticed a comment on one of my posts from a fellow blogger, Sikko Gerkema, who blogs from The Netherlands, I think. The blog is apparently all in Dutch. There is a translator provided, but sometimes the translation doesn't seem quite right. The blog is Briven aan Niemand Anders, which according to the program, translates into English as Letters to No One Else.

It's a great blog with lots of good links to other blogs and sites. I'll be checking back often. (I'd "follow" it, but I can't seem to get that to work just yet.)

Stop by for a visit!

Letter #307 -- Loving Food

A friend of mine posted on her Facebook page that today is National Sandwich Day and tomorrow is National Candy Day. Well, since we recently had letter writing topics about sandwiches and candy, we'll have to write about the upcoming Doughnut Appreciation Day on Friday, Nov. 5.

What's your favorite doughnut? I generally enjoy a plain glazed doughnut the most. Although I do like a cream-filled doughnut, too.

For the longest time, my husband and I proclaimed Shipley Do-Nuts to be our favorite. The doughnut company was founded in Houston, Texas, and my husband's mother worked at the original shop at one time. We knew that at just about any time, we could get a hot Shipley Do-nut. Then, finally, years after everyone else was clamoring for them, we tried Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Now, we agree it's a toss-up. The two companies' doughnuts are different, but each is good. And, both stores generally have hot doughnuts when you walk in the door. (It is fun to watch the doughnuts traveling down the conveyor belt at Krispy Kreme.)

Today, in advance of Doughnut Appreciation Day, write a letter about your favorite doughnut.

Letter writing topic for Nov. 5, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Letter #306 -- Election Day

Today, it is Election Day in the United States. Did you vote? Do you remember the first time you voted? Who did you vote for? Where did you vote?

Write about your voting experiences in a letter today.

Letter writing topic for Nov. 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Letter #305 -- Your historical twin

Who are you most like in history? When you read about history, who do you identify with? Queens, kings, princes and princesses? The working class heroes? Presidents and first ladies? Farmers and ranchers? Natives? Explorers?

Is there a specific person in history you think you are most like? Write about him or her -- and the connection you feel -- in a letter today.

Letter writing topic for November 1, 2010

Love letters

Leanna at the blog The Life of a Preppy Army Wife is writing about the love letters she and her soldier husband write to each other.

She writes:

"We feel there is nothing more romantic then a handwritten love letter to melt ones heart."
Stop by her blog for a visit.

Letter #304 -- Boo!

What was your most memorable childhood Halloween costume? Did you have store-bought costumes or the homemade variety? Did you choose scary outfits, such as goblins and ghouls, or did you pick happy themes, like fairies and princesses?

Write about your favorite Halloween costume in a letter to a friend.

Letter writing topic for Oct. 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Letter #303 -- Not this weekend

If you, like me, were thinking that this weekend would finally be the end to Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. for this year, you were wrong. I know I was. If you'll remember, back in 2007, the dates were moved, and DST now ends on the first Sunday in November, which is NEXT Sunday, Nov. 7!

What do you think about DST? Do you love it, hate it or never even think about it? Does it affect your life?

Write a letter about Daylight Saving Time today.

Letter writing topic for Oct. 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Letter #302 -- Candy, candy and more candy

It's that time of year when the aisles of the stores are filled with giant bags of candy, more bite-sized pieces of candy than you ever dreamed existed.

What's your favorite? Chocolate? Sweet tarts? Caramels?

Candy corn! I love to eat them, one color at a time from the top down! But, of course, I also enjoy a nice nibble of a Hershey's Special Dark!

Whatever your favorite candy is, Halloween is sure to give you a chance to stock up on it! Enjoy!

But, before you get your fingers all sticky, write a letter to a friend about your favorite candy.

A Different Type of Letter a Day

In "I Am Writing a Letter Each Day..." is a blog by a sister writing to her brother who is in prison. It's a different look at a letter writing project.

Letter #301 -- From the future

Where do you think you'll be in 5, 10, 20 or more years? What do you think you'll be doing? Do you think flying cars will be invented by then?

Use your imagination. And then write a letter from the future. Describe to yourself or someone else what's going on in 2020 or 2050 or any other time in the future. Use the letter as a goal-setting exercise for yourself or as just a fun creative writing exercise.

Letter #300 -- Snack Time!

What do you choose for a snack? Something healthy like carrot sticks or yogurt? Something indulgent like cookies or ice cream? Crispy and crunchy? Soft and gooey? Sweet? Salty?

Write a letter about your typical snack, that little something to get you through the rest of the afternoon. If you can, send your letter with a small package that includes a sample of your favorite (nonperishable) snack.

Letter #299 -- Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

Some people love them, some people hate them. Some people can't live without them, some people aren't even sure what they are..... social media or social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. I know some people who post everything that happens in their lives, including things most of us never wanted to know. I know others who have an account because they think they're supposed to, but they never post anything. And, then there are the many people in between the two extremes. Plus, there are those friends (and relatives) of mine who are beyond the extremes and don't even want to hear about "friend requests," "tweeting," etc.

What's your take on it? How do you think social media affects the world around you?

Merge the old with the new and write a letter about social media today. (And, if you're so inclined, write a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter post about letter writing!)

Letter #298 -- Nephew

Write a letter to your nephew. Tell him how important he is and how much you love him.

Letter #297 -- The Wonderful World of...

... Disney! What's your favorite Disney movie? They range from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (first screened in 1937) to the latest version of "Alice in Wonderland," released this year. Spanning those 73 years have been movies about other princesses, dogs, cats, a talking car, talking toys, many singing characters and much more.

Write a letter to a friend about your favorite Disney movie. Include some details...why you like it, when was the first time you saw it, what the movie is about, etc.

Letter #296 -- Graciousness

Write a letter to someone who could use a touch of gracious, a kind word, a gentle comment. Write your letter so full of niceness that no one could ever find anything to object to in it. Sometimes, it seems that our world is full of ugliness...share some goodness with a letter.

Letter #295 -- Another Perspective

After suffering through some computer problems that hampered my ability to post for a little while, I'm almost caught up with the letter writing topics....

Take another look at your favorite book character and then write a letter from that character's perspective. This is another form of ghost-writing, which I've mentioned before. It's a little wacky, but it's fun to do something out of the ordinary from time to time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fun story about kids letter writing

Here's a nice story about some third-graders and some senior citizens in Massachusetts becoming pen pals. This indicates snail mail isn't dead yet.

Letter #294 -- Take a stand

Write a letter standing up for yourself. Is there someone who has said something inaccurate about you? Someone or something that has cheated you? Have you been blamed for something you didn't do? Write a letter taking a stand in defense of yourself.

This is another letter you may choose not to mail. This could be the kind of letter you write and then burn, sending the message up in smoke. Or, if you need to, you may choose to send it on. Depending on your situation, think it through and then do what you gotta do.

Letter #293 -- Take a (backward) cue from Brad Paisley

This is a letter that you may or may not mail. You might write it to yourself, or you might write it to someone who needs to hear what you have to say.

Write a letter from your younger self. I know, I know. Brad Paisley's song is about writing a letter TO his younger self. And, that's a fine letter to write.

But, your younger self probably had a different outlook on life. Maybe he or she was freer than you are now, maybe more creative, less conformative. Could you use a shot of youth right about now? Do you know someone else who could benefit from the way you used to be? Think back to how you were then, and write a letter from a younger you.

Letter #292 -- Sweet Niece

Write a letter to your niece. Let her know how proud you are of her and how much you love her. She may have loving and supportive parents, but, still, knowing you care will mean something to her.

Letter #291 -- Thrills!

What's your favorite theme park ride? I haven't been to a theme park in years, but I don't think we can keep our daughter away from Six Flags for much longer. I know it's changed over the years, but maybe the log ride is still there.

Back in my youth, I was not afraid to try a rollercoaster or two. I'm sure I rode on the Shock Wave in the last 1970s with my uncles, braving the double loops. At smaller carnivals, I've always preferred the Himalaya ride and the Tilt-A-Whirl. My daughter is familiar with the carnival rides and thinks the scarier the better. So, I'm sure she'll be dragging me toward the roller coaster whenever she does get to Six Flags.

Write a letter to a friend about your favorite theme park or carnival ride. Write about your experiences. Ask about their experiences.

Letter #290 -- Finding Beauty Online

As you browse blogs, don't you see sites that are delightfully pretty?

There are so many talented designers out there, as well as great photographers and artists, that there are many beautiful blogs to visit.

Which is your favorite? What blog gets your vote for the prettiest?

Share your thoughts with a friend in a letter. Encourage him or her to visit that blog and leave a comment.

Letter #289 -- Celebrity Crushes

Letter writing topic #287 got me to thinking about celebrity crushes. Those TV shows with the ideal (or dysfunctional) families often had cute kids.

The first fellow on TV that I probably had a crush on was Bobby Sherman who was in "Here Come the Brides." Later, I remember Leif Garrett (yes, I know about his recent troubles), Shaun Cassidy, Donny Osmond, Robby Benson, and I'm sure there were more.

How about you? Who were your celebrity crushes? What has happened to them?

Write a letter about it!

Letter #288 -- Do you want ice cream with that?

Which do you prefer? Cake or pie? I suppose it depends on the occasion, right? On your birthday, you might want birthday cake, but on an all-American holiday, you might want apple pie.

I think if I had to choose, I'd pick hot pecan pie with vanilla ice cream as my first choice. Secondly, I'd choose carrot cake with cream cheese icing.


What's your favorite? Write about it in a letter!

Letter #287 -- Favorite TV Family

With the recent deaths of Tom Bosley, who portrayed the father on the TV show "Happy Days," and Barbara Billingsley, who portrayed the mother on the TV show "Leave It To Beaver," the world (or at least the U.S.) said good-bye to two more beloved actors.

I grew up watching re-runs of "Leave It To Beaver" and then in the 1970s "Happy Days" became a favorite. Nowadays, it seems that there are few TV shows that appeal to or are suitable for the entire family to watch together.

In fact, the shows are so scarce that when television broadcasting switched to digital, we just switched it off. You read that correctly...for more than a year, our little family has not had regular TV service in our house. We've never had cable, satellite or any other "premium" service because we didn't want to spend the money on it and because our rural location limits what's available to us. Our old, small TV wasn't pre-equipped for digital service, and we never got around to obtaining a converter. So, when the big switch was made, we stayed behind.

We still have the TV, and we watch videos and DVDs. We have some recordings of old TV shows, such as "Andy Griffith," "The Lucy Show," "The Waltons," "Leave It To Beaver," etc., and we watch those, as well as movies.

As you watch a TV show, you begin to feel like you know the (sometimes) fictional family portrayed on the screen.  Which TV family or character do you most identify with? Who's your favorite? Think about it. Write a letter about it. Mail it.

(TV graphic courtesy of www.freeclipartnow.com)

Letter #286 -- Ask a Question

In journalism school, students are taught to ask the 5 Ws and the H -- who, what, where, when, why and how. When those questions are answered -- sometimes multiple times -- you have a pretty good story.

But, as a letter writer, you can use the 5 Ws and the H in a couple of different ways. You can use them as guidelines for asking questions of your letter's recipient. Some examples: What is your new job? When do you start working? Where is your office? Why did you decide to switch jobs? Who are your co-workers? How did your old boss react when you told him you were quitting?

You can also use the 5 Ws and the H to make sure your letter -- and the stories within -- are thorough and newsy. When writing your letter, ask yourself if you've answered all of the questions your reader might have.

Letter writing book


I haven't read this book, but it looks interesting — Curly Grandma's Letters: Writing to Kids and Capturing Your Autobiography by Anita Bryce, aka Curly Grandma.

The author wrote the book after discovering that she could write more interesting letters to her grandchildren and tell them about her life at the same time. She looked for books or websites on the topic but couldn't find anything, so she wrote a book herself.

The book is available as a paperback, e-book and audio book.

Letter # 285 -- Who invented it?

Write a letter to the inventor of your favorite product. Is there something that you can't live without? An item that has enhanced your life? Do a little research and write a letter to the inventor. Of course, many things we use today were invented so long ago that you can't write a letter to the inventor. So, instead, write a letter about the inventor. Sure, it's a little like a research paper, but it'll be fun to learn something new!

Mother Teresa stamps

Last month, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 44-cent stamp to recognize Mother Teresa, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work. The stamp was issued during a special ceremony held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the nation’s capital.

Noted for her compassion toward the poor and suffering, Mother Teresa, a diminutive Roman Catholic nun and honorary U.S. citizen, served the sick and destitute of India and the world for nearly 50 years.

“Often, stamps are referred to as a nation’s ‘calling cards’ because they reach a national, and even an international audience,” said Postmaster General John Potter in dedicating the stamp. “They focus attention on subjects our country regards with respect and affection, and that is certainly true of Mother Teresa, who believed so deeply in the innate worth and dignity of humankind and worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. That’s why I am so very proud that our country, after making her an honorary citizen in 1996, is honoring Mother Teresa with such a lasting memorial.”

When Mother Teresa accepted the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize — one of her numerous honors and distinctions — she did so “in the name of the poor, the hungry, the sick and the lonely,” and convinced the organizers to donate to the needy the money normally used to fund the awards banquet. Well respected worldwide, she successfully urged many of the world’s business and political leaders to give their time and resources to help those in need. President Ronald Reagan presented Mother Teresa with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, the same year she began work on behalf of AIDS sufferers in the U.S. and other countries. In 1997, Congress awarded Mother Teresa the Congressional Gold Medal for her “outstanding and enduring contributions through humanitarian and charitable activities.”


Mother Teresa died in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), India, on Sept. 5, 1997, and is buried there. She was a citizen of India since 1948.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress awarded Mother Teresa honorary U.S. citizenship. The honor has only been bestowed on six others. Winston Churchill received it in 1963, Raoul Wallenberg in 1981, William Penn and Hannah Callowhill Penn in 1984, the Marquis de Lafayette in 2002 and General Casimir Pulaski in 2009. With the exception of Hannah Callowhill Penn, each of these figures has also appeared on a U.S. postage stamp: the Marquis de Lafayette four times (1952, 1957, 1976, and 1977), William Penn in 1932, Churchill in 1965 and 1991, and Wallenberg in 1997. General Pulaski was honored on postage in 1931 and 1979.

The stamp features a portrait of Mother Teresa painted by award-winning artist Thomas Blackshear II of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Letter #284 -- Dear Ol' Dad

Continuing with trying to catch up (after computer problems caused me to get behind)...

Write a letter to your Dad (or about your dad or to a father-figure in your life). Don't just pick out a card and sign your name to it...write him a real letter!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stationery Giveaway

The Wild & Precious blog and Moonbeam Wishes Etsy shop are giving away some stationery sets.

Visit here to see all the details.

Letter #283 -- Love, love, love

Write a love letter. Mail it. It's as easy as that to share your love.

Rural Letter Carrier

There's an interesting post about a rural mail carrier on the Permanent Fixes blog. Check it out.

Letter #282 -- Corsages

We recently had Homecoming in our small town. Homecoming (for anyone who isn't familiar with the term) is an event tied to a high school football game (at least around here it's football). Graduates of the high school come back "home" for the game. In our town, the high school students elect a Homecoming Queen and King. In some other towns, they also elect a "Coming Home Queen and King" from the alumni.

One of the things that makes Homecoming different from all the other football games is that the girls wear Homecoming mums, large flower corsages, decorated with ribbons, trinkets, etc. If you're not familiar with this concept, type "Homecoming mums" into Google Images and see lots of pictures. Typically, boyfriends give the Homecoming mums to their girlfriends, but many parents, grandparents and "just friends" give mums to girls. And, in return, the girls often give Homecoming "garters" to the boys. Those are decorated flowers on arm bands that the boys wear.

Now, back in the "old" days (the 1980s, I know), girls wore real flowers, chrysanthemums, elaborately decorated. Nowadays, the flowers are artificial (silk) so that they can better withstand all of the stuff that is attached to them. The pictures that you see online are often the extreme, and around here most of the girls attach the mum to one shoulder or the other and do not wear them around their neck like gigantic necklaces.

This year, my daughter is in the fifth grade and still a little too young for a Homecoming date. Yet, she wanted a Homecoming mum. I wasn't about to pay up to $100 for a mum (I'm not kidding....many people pay that much and more), so we bought a basic, undecorated mum and some ribbon and trinkets and made one by ourselves for much less.

From what I understand, back in the really olden days (the 1960s, for example, when I was a little girl), girls often wore much smaller mums or corsages to many football games, not just the Homecoming game. I hope they cost a lot less back then!

Have you ever heard of such a tradition? Have you ever received a Homecoming mum or a corsage for a sporting event? If so, write a letter about it today. If not, is there anything similar where you live? Write a letter about your traditions!

Holiday cards? Will you send them?

Daniel Hamermash wrote a blog post on the New York Times about holiday cards. The post generated the most comments of any of his recent blog writings. Read his post and the comments. It's interesting.

Will you send out (or have you sent out) holiday cards this year? Or, will you email?

Letter #281 -- Flowers or Candy?

Which would you prefer to receive as a gift....a vase of flowers for your desk/table or a box of gourmet chocolates? Of course, as life goes, you might not get either on a gift-giving/receiving occasion, or you might get both. But, if you had to choose, which would you rather get? What do you think that says about you and your personality (and your waistline)? Write about it in a letter to a friend today. (But, think about it first....don't write a letter about how you'd much prefer chocolate and send it to a friend who sent you flowers...)

U.S. Holiday Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service is issuing four, new Forever stamps and a single stamp featuring a musical angel for the 2010 holiday season.
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“With these wonderful new stamps in hand, you will be ready for the upcoming holidays — and we’ll be ready to deliver your messages of peace and joy across America,” said Maura Robinson, Postal Service vice president, Pricing. “...both the new Holiday Evergreens Forever stamps and the Angel with Lute commemorative issue will be available nationwide.”

Holiday Evergreens Forever
Decorating with evergreens during the winter holiday season is a popular and appealing tradition. These beautiful new stamps feature close-up views of the foliage and cones of four different conifers:  ponderosa pine, eastern red cedar, blue spruce and balsam fir.
The artist, the late Ned Seidler, was a gifted painter of nature subjects. When painting flora, he frequently used cuttings from plants and trees in his own yard as reference.

Angel with Lute
For the holiday season, angels represent peace on earth. This stamp features an angel playing a lute, an image from a fresco painted around the year 1480 by Italian Renaissance artist, Melozzo da Forli, for the apse of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Rome. It radiates serenity and dignity, along with compassion, while the lute points to harmony and song.

Also, available now at Post Offices are 44-cent Madonna and Child, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Eid stamps this holiday season. (And, last year's Winter Holidays stamps are still sold on the USPS website.)

Letter # 280 -- Sincerely

Write a letter asking a friend (or relative), "How are you?" And mean it. Don't use that question as simply an introductory sentence. Add some statements and further questions that let your letter's recipient know that you're truly concerned. Share a little bit of your life, but don't go on and on...this letter isn't about you; it's about your friend. She (or he) will appreciate it.

Letters & Journals

Have you stopped by Jackie Flaherty's Letters & Journals website lately? She's planning to launch her magazine in 2011, and she needs 5,000 potential subscribers to let her know they'd be interested in such a magazine. Once she gets a list of 5,000 names, she'll start approaching advertisers. Earlier this month, she had 2,300 names. If you haven't contacted Jackie (you can sign up for her free e-newsletter or ask for magazine updates), do it today. If you have already signed up, think about who you can share the news with! If each person who's already on her list gets one more person to say they're interested, Jackie will have her 5,000 names.

She's ready to get this magazine off the ground! Let's see what we can do to help.

Letter #279 -- Writer to writer

Write a letter to the author of  your favorite book, fiction or nonfiction. Tell him or her what it is you like best about the book. Is it one you've recently discovered or one you read as a child and have kept reading, year after year?

Everyone likes to get positive feedback!

A discussion about letter writing

The Money Saving Expert website had a discussion about letter writing that, in my opinion, spotlights what people think when they receive a handwritten letter. Click here for the post.

Keep on writing!

Letter #278 -- Dear Mom...

Write a letter to your mom today. You know she wants to hear from you. And you know she'd love to hear from you in a letter that she can save and read over and over again.

(As with all of these letter writing topics, adjust this to fit your life. If you can't write a letter to your mom, write one about her. Or, write a letter to a mother-figure in your life, or your mother-in-law, etc. Just use this idea as inspiration.)

Letter writing for a cause

Tree Hugger Mama hosted a letter writing party last month, inviting her guests to write a letter to U.S.  Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar regarding off-shore drilling in Alaska.

And, she blogged about it. Read more of the details here.

Letter #277 -- Favorite sandwich?

What's your favorite sandwich?

My favorite traditional sandwich (two pieces of bread and some filling) is made with whole wheat bread, fresh mozzarella cheese, thick-sliced home-grown tomatoes, a little bit of mayonnaise and some freshly ground black pepper. For a little extra zing, add a few sprigs of fresh basil. Then, grill it until the bread is toasted and the cheese is all melty. I like to cook the sandwich in my George Foreman Grill. It's a great sandwich!

Write a letter about your favorite sandwich...why is your favorite? How did you learn to make it? Does anyone else like it? Share your recipe!

(Sandwich clipart from Webweaver's Free Clipart)

In Celebration of Letter Writing

I've just discovered the Women of Letters group in Australia. According to the "About" section of their website, "Women of Letters is Melbourne’s newest literary event – an afternoon that celebrates a diverse range of strong female talent whilst simultaneously raising funds for Victorian animal rescue shelter, Edgar’s Mission. Co-curated by writers Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire, the monthly occasion will bring together five of Melbourne’s best and brightest writers, musicians, politicians and comedians in celebration of the beautiful lost art of letter-writing."

Interesting.

And, to add to the interest, the group is offering it's first Men of Letters event on Sunday, Oct. 31.

Visit the Women of Letters website, click on the links. I like it!

Letter #276 -- I spy something beautiful

Look out your window. What do you see? Look for something of beauty out there. A flower, a ray of sunshine, a drop of rain, a leaf, a shadow...if you look hard enough, you can find some little speck of beauty anywhere. Now, write a letter about the beauty you see out your window.

(Window clip art courtesy of www.freeclipartnow.com)

Yikes!

I must apologize profusely! I've had some computer problems in the past few weeks, and that greatly hampered my efforts to get online and post letter writing topics.

But, I've been keeping a list of ideas, so it's time to get this blog caught up!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Message in a bottle!

I got the idea for the previous letter writing idea from this story about a letter in a bottle that traveled from Florida to Ireland in about 16 months.

Letter #275 -- Message in a bottle?

Have you ever written a letter, sealed it up in a bottle and thrown it in the ocean? Did anyone find it?

Would you consider doing it now? I wonder, with all the trash that is out there in the ocean already, do we really need to be throwing bottles in the water? It's a fun project, I'm sure, but are there other options? Releasing balloons into the air doesn't seem too eco-friendly, either.

What about leaving a letter somewhere? On the seat of a bus, in the fork of a tree, on a park bench. Of course, in this day and age of terrorist-awareness and "suspicious packages," maybe we'd better write our "letters" on postcards, so there's no worries about what's inside the envelope.

Additionally, it's probably a judicious decision not to leave your name and address laying around in public for any potential bad-guy to find. Instead, consider some other options, such as using a pen-name and a post office box.

Or, instead of asking for a letter in return, you could start a Facebook (or other social networking, blogging, etc.) page and ask the finder of your letter to post a message on the page and then leave a similar letter asking someone else to leave a message on the same Facebook page, etc. Maybe create a game that combines the elements of "Where's George," geocaching, treasure hunting, letter writing and more. Use the Facebook page to promote letter writing!

It might be fun.

A "new" letter-writing blog

I just came across a "new" blog about letter writing! Julie in Ontario started The Letter Writing Revolution in June. Check out her blog (be sure to go back to the archives and read her earlier posts!).

I only wish I lived in her area so I would qualify for the giveaway she's having! Paper/Papier sounds like a wonderful shop!

Letter #274 -- For teachers

Write a letter to your child's teacher thanking him or her for everything he/she does for your kid. I remember before Anna started to school, we did the typical things parents do...we taught her the alphabet, we read her books, we taught her simple words like "cat" and "dog," but we didn't get much further than that. Just a few weeks into kindergarten, that child was reading books! That's what professional teachers are for! Let your child's teacher know that you appreciate what they go through with a room full of kids every day!

More on cursive writing

Here's an interesting newspaper column on the need for cursive writing in today's society. What do you think about the topic?

Demise of the Curlicue by Colin Hickey

Letter #273 -- Would You Rather?

One of the books on my daughter's Scholastic Book order form is a book for best friends that includes a list of questions that each friend answers. The questions all start with "Would you rather...." Now, keep in mind, this book is aimed at older elementary school kids, so some of the options are a little gross. (The example in the flier asks, "Would you rather drool maple syrup or sweat cheese?" Anna and I both agreed we'd rather drool syrup.)

Now, take this comment and turn it into your own fun quiz for a penpal. There are some examples online, if you search for "Would you rather questions," but beware...some of the sites are a bit risque. Here are a few ideas to get you going:

Would your rather send mail or receive it?
Would you rather get a letter with a pretty envelope or a pretty stamp?
Would you rather get a hand-written letter from someone with messy handwriting or a typed letter?

Keep adding to that list and send off your questionnaire today!

Letters for Lyrics

I was reading an article about a teacher in Farmington, N.M., who is teaching her students to write letters when I found out about the Zac Brown band's Letters for Lyrics program.

Sarah Menapace-Walker's students wrote and illustrated 92 letters to troops serving overseas. She started the letter-writing lessons after learning about the Letters for Lyrics program.

The Zac Brown Band and Ram Trucks are giving away free copies of the CD "Breaking Southern Ground" to anyone who writes a letter to a soldier and takes it to a Ram Truck dealer. (The offer is valid while supplies last.) They have a goal of 1 million letters, and they've received 327,545 letters so far. You can get more details by clicking on the Letters for Lyrics link above.

Letter #272 -- Exercise

What's your favorite exercise? Do you like to run or jog outside, facing the elements as you get or stay in shape? Or, do you prefer to watch TV inside while you ride a stationary bicycle or walk on a treadmill? Do you like to lift weights? Play basketball? Push-ups? Sit-ups? Walk around the block? How do you exercise?

Write about your favorite exercise in a letter to a friend today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Letter #271 -- Cooler weather, for some of us!

Oh, how I feel for those people in California who are suffering through such heat. They experienced 113 degrees yesterday, a temperature that is not unknown to those of us living in Texas.

But, it is much cooler here now. That "First Day of Autumn" on the calendar brought cooler days and much cooler nights!

What's the weather like where you are? Sure, it's cliche to write about the weather, but it's also interesting to a lot of people! Write a letter today discussing the weather. Is it hot or cold? Sunny or rainy? Do you like it?  Share your climate. Share your thoughts!

Letter writing topic for Sept. 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Letter #270 -- In memory

Fellow blogger Gladys, over at Gladys Tells All, wrote last Friday about her Aunt Jewel, who recently passed away. Take a minute or two and read Gladys' post about Aunt Jewel, and then write a letter in memory of someone near and dear to you. Tell a story, share a smile. Let someone else remember, too.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Letter #269 -- A Necessary Letter

Think about it, today. Who do you need to write a letter to? Who needs to hear from you? Who needs to be surprised to see your handwriting on an envelope in their mailbox? Who needs to experience that thrill of anticipation as they open that envelope and excitedly read your words, scrawled across the pages with your favorite pen? Who do you need to write to today? Think about it. Think about that person.

Now, sit down and write that letter.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Letter #268 -- Museums

Today is Museum Day! What's your favorite musuem? Why do you like to go there? Is it an art museum? A history museum? A cultural museum? What's your favorite exhibit?

Today, on Museum Day, write a letter to a friend about your favorite museum.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 25, 2010

Letter #267 -- What is there to do?

Write a letter about something going on in your area. Just down the road from where we live, they're having "Western Heritage Days" this weekend. What's going on around you? If nothing is going on this weekend, look to the future. When is something planned? Write a letter about it. If there's time, invite someone to join you for the activity.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Letter #266 -- Oops

What's the most recent mistake you've made? It seems like I've just goofed up one time after another today. Nothing major, just piddly little stuff that means re-doing the same thing over and over again, forgetting to change things, changing other things wrongly, etc.

Have you ever had one of those days? Write about it in a letter to a friend today.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Letter #265 -- He ain't heavy....

Today is my brother's birthday. Today, write a letter to your brother. Recollect a memory from your childhood or let him know how much he means to you. Share something about your life now. Ask about his life. Let him know you care.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Letter #264 -- Traveling

Is there a place you'd like to visit that you've never been to? What are your travel dreams? Where would you like to go? What do you want to see?

I hope to go to Ireland some day. It's been a dream of mine for years. For now, I'll just keep dreaming.

Write a letter today about a place you'd like to visit.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Letter #263 -- Autumn

In the northern hemisphere, this coming Wednesday is the first day of Autumn. (In the southern hemisphere, it's springtime!)

Today, write a letter about your favorite season — Autumn, Winter, Spring or Summer. Which do you like best? Why? Share a recipe or a story that represents that season.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 20. 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Letter #262 -- Peace

Where do you find your peace? When the chaos of the world is making you crazy, where do you escape to? Do you have a garden or a quiet corner somewhere where you can sit and enjoy the quiet?

Write about your peacefulness in a letter today. Share your serenity with someone else!

Letter writing topic for Sept. 19, 2010

Letter #261 -- Smile!

What makes you laugh? What made you laugh this week? A kitten chasing its tale? A knock-knock joke your child told you? A co-worker's funny story?

Share your laughter with someone in a letter today. Tell them what you saw or heard and why it made you laugh. Maybe you'll make someone else laugh, too.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Letter #260 -- Good News!

Today, after reading so many tragic stories in the news, I decided to re-run a letter writing topic from January. Write a letter filled with good news. I know that sometimes things all around us seem terrible, but if you don't have any good news yourself, look online....when I need something to cheer me up, I just look through some of my favorite blogs. All over the world, good things are happening in people's lives, and they're writing about those things online!

One of my favorite blogs for a quick, simple pick-me-up is Kind Over Matter. It always seems cheerful there.

Now, go write that letter! Spread some happiness around.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Stamp Honors Poet

Julia de Burgos, one of Puerto Rico’s most celebrated poets, was recognized by the Postal Service earlier this week with a 44-cent stamp at the Teatro Tapia in San Juan, Puerto Rico, one of the oldest drama stage buildings in the U.S.

An award-winning writer and journalist, Julia de Burgos takes her place among honorees in the Postal Service’s Literary Arts series and with 75 other Hispanic-themed stamps.


“Today, the Postal Service honors Julia de Burgos, a revolutionary writer, thinker, and activist,” said Jordan Small, Postal Service area vice president, Northeast Area, during the first-day-of-issue stamp ceremony. “Dr. de Burgos wrote more than 200 poems that probe issues of love, feminism, and political and personal freedom. Her groundbreaking works urged women, minorities and the poor to defy social conventions and find their own true selves.”

Julia Constanza Burgos García was born on Feb. 17, 1914, in the town of Carolina, Puerto Rico. The eldest of 13 children, de Burgos grew up along the Río Grande de Loíza. She later wrote, “My childhood was all a poem in the river, and a river in the poem of my first dreams.” 

Although her family’s limited means made attending college difficult, de Burgos persevered and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in 1933 with a two-year teaching degree. For the next several years, she worked at a series of teaching and journalism jobs while also publishing poems in journals and newspapers.

De Burgos’ first collection, Exact Poems to Myself, consisted of poems she wrote in 1934 and 1935. One of the poems written during this early period also became her most famous, “Río Grande de Loíza,” a love song to the river of her childhood. In another poem, de Burgos rejected the social and behavioral restrictions placed on women, forcefully proclaiming, “I am life, strength, woman.” Other poems address political themes such as equality and social justice.

The stamp features a portrait of Julia de Burgos created by artist Jody Hewgill. It is available in panes of 20 stamps, a block of 10 stamps or a block of four stamps. Additionally, first-day-of-issue postmark stamps and other items featuring the stamp are available. For more information, visit the USPS website at www.usps.com.

Interesting letter story

If you'll click over to The Guardian newspaper's website, you can read Geoff Dyer's article on buying a letter written by D.H. Lawrence. It's quite an interesting read!

Lawrence, a letter and me

Letter #259 -- Your Favorites

Today, write a letter to a friend or relative and include a list of your 10 favorite blogs. If you're writing to someone who isn't quite Internet-savvy, tell them what blogs are all about. To me, blogs are a cross between an old-fashioned newspaper column, email, a personal letter, a journal and a conversation. And, of course, each blog is different. Some blogs are strictly business, while others are highly personal.

If you're so inclined, print out a few pages from your favorites to show your friend what specifically you like about the blogs.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Letter #258 -- Hot Under the Collar?

What makes you mad? Really angry? How do you deal with things when you get angry? Do you vent? Or do you keep it all bottled up?

Today, write a letter about how you deal with things that make you mad. Send it to someone you're not mad at.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Profile of a Letter Writer

Blogger Lauren from Norman, Oklahoma, posts copies of the letters she sends and receives (after she blocks out the names and addresses, of course). SincerelyLauren.com is a great place to go to see how real-life letters are written, what people say to each other, etc.

Lauren also makes her own stationery/note cards.

Here are Lauren’s answer to my questions:

1. Why do you write letters?
I love stationery and being crafty.  I also hate only getting bills in the mail.  I want to be excited when I go to my mail box.

2. Which is more exciting for you (and tell us why -- elaborate) -- finding a letter in your mailbox or dropping a letter into a mailbox? I do love dropping a letter off to be mailed, but I'm way more excited about receiving personal letters.  It brightens my day and gives me something to look forward to.

3. Who do you write to? Why? I have recently started writing to random people.  Mainly because my friends have adapted to technology with flying colors and have left old fashioned snail mail behind, so I don't receive much from them when I write to them.

4. Do you write to people who never write back? Why or why not? Not really.  I mainly don't write back because the recipient is either not interested in letter writing or I may not live at that address anymore.

5. Do you use fancy stationery or plain notebook paper? Why? I use fancy stationery.  That's the main reason I like to write letters.  I like art and pretty things and stationery can sometimes be considered one or both.

6. Do you e-mail, text, etc., too? If so, what determines who gets an e-mail and who gets a letter? I do email and text but only when I need a direct response.  I use letter writing for recreational purposes, and leisurely communication.

7. Do you always handwrite letters? Or, do you ever type them on a  typewriter or print them out from a computer? I have toyed around with the idea of typing them out.  I have this great font that is my own handwriting, so I may use that at some point, but for now I handwrite my own letters.

8. Tell us about your blog/website. It's a website a friend started for me after I had mentioned the Idea of writing to random people to get rid of stationery and therefore have an excuse to buy more.  He suggested that I blog the send outs and the responses.  My blog monkey is the genius mastermind behind my blog site.

9. Why should people write more letters? I don't think I would use the word "should," but I think they would have more fun writing letters than they would sending a boring email.  When you write a letter you can take pride in the fact that you went to the trouble of taking time out of your day to create something special for someone else.
 
10. What is your favorite letter? Any letter that is sent to me.  I'm not picky.  I do like longer letters, but beggars can't be choosers.

 If you want to send Lauren a letter, write to her at:
Sincerely Lauren
PO BOX 5436
Norman,OK 73070

Letter #257 -- Nancy Drew?

What was your favorite children's book? If you're like me, you have a difficult time choosing just one. If that's true, just pick one of your many favorites to write about today. Try to remember how old you were when you read it, and write a letter to a child about that age now. If you can, send a copy of the book. Tell him or her why you liked it so much. Encourage him/her to read! And write....send some stationery, an envelope and a stamp. Ask for a letter in return! Ask some specific questions for your letter's recipient to respond to.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Letter #256 -- Buenos Dias

Today, write a letter in a foreign language, one that is different from your native language. Are you fluent in another language? If you are, great! This will be an easy letter for you to write. If not, well, do your best. Use the Internet or a translation dictionary to help you look up some words in another language. At least, sprinkle a few of those words throughout your letter. If you're not comfortable writing the entire letter in another language, just use a few key words here and there.

It'll be fun! Try it!

Letter writing topic for Sept. 13, 2010

Letter #255 -- Longings

Write a letter about something you've always wanted to do but haven't had a chance to do yet. Do you think you'll ever accomplish your dream? How? When? What are your plans?

Write a letter about it!

Letter writing topic for Sept. 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Letter #254 -- The Future

Today, write a letter about your hopes and dreams for the future. For today, ignore your worries and fears and write a letter with your most cheerful expectations for future days to come. Then, be sure to put it in the mailbox!

Letter writing topic for Sept. 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Letter #253 -- Slow or fast?

In the U.S., for many people, today is the last work day of a short week. Many of us had Monday, Sept. 6, Labor Day, off from work. That gave us a three-day weekend and a four-day week. But, most of us didn't come back to only four days' worth of work. We still had to get five days' work done in only four days. Sometimes, that makes for a "long" week, even though it's short a day. Does it seem that way to you, too?

Write a letter today about what your work week was like. Did time fly or drag on, seemingly endlessly? Tell someone about your experiences.

Letter writing topic for September 10, 2010

Letter #252 -- Don't mail it

This letter writing assignment goes against most everything we talk about here, but that's OK. Sometimes it's all right to shake things up a bit.

Today, write a letter that you never intend to mail. Write a letter saying things you wish you could say but know you never could really say them. Get it out of your system. Pour your heart out. Then, destroy the letter. Burn it. Shred it. Shred it, then burn it. Whatever it takes to make sure this particular letter never gets read by the person you wish could read it. Then, as I tell my daughter all the time, let it go.

An alternative to destroying the letter is to mail it to The Things Unsaid Project. One or more readers of this blog have mentioned the project to me. According to the project's site, The Things Unsaid Project is a "new social art project that allows individuals the opportunity to voice their long-silent words and remind us all of our shared connections, emotions, and experiences. We all have things we’ve wanted to say, but—for whatever reason—haven’t voiced. From apologies and admiration to gratitude and aggravation, The Things Unsaid Project offers you the chance to share those missing words, to communicate those 'things unsaid' and release your thoughts into the world."

Go to the link, scroll down to the bottom of the page and read all about how to participate.

Letter writing topic for September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Letter #251 -- Do you think so?

Not long ago, I got a fortune cookie at a Chinese restaurant that said: This is a prosperous time of life for you.

It seems like often we don't think we're in a prosperous time of life. It seems as if we almost always want more. We can always think of certain things that can be better.

Along this theme, I've been having regular conversations with my 10-year-old daughter on our way to school every morning. She typically has a complaint about school. She doesn't like PE, she's not happy with this teacher or that one, etc. So, I talk to her about finding the good in each situation, finding something to like about every teacher, etc. I have no idea if my talks are working or not, but I keep talking.

So, how about you? Do you think this is a "prosperous time of life for you"? If so, are you enjoying it? What are you doing to take advantage of the good situation? How did you get to this point?

Even if it doesn't seem so on the bottom line, are you making the most of a difficult situation? How? What do you do to keep going, to continue pushing forward?

Write a letter about it to a friend. I know you don't want to brag, but you can express your gratitude for how things are going or talk about the situation in other ways.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Letter #250 -- Top 10

What are your top 10 favorite reasons for writing a letter? Think about why you like to correspond and then write those reasons in a letter to a friend.

Letter writing topic for Sept. 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Letter #249 -- Labor Day

In the United States of America, today is Labor Day, a day for celebrating the American workers and all they have accomplished. For an interesting piece on Labor Day, read Valerie Strauss' Things You Should Know About Labor Day in the Washington Post.

Then, write a letter to the hardest working person you know. Tell them how much their hard work means to you and others.

Alternatively, write a letter about a hard-working person, from the present or the past. Honor that person's efforts.

Don't forget....no mail in the USA today. In honor of Labor Day, our hard-working postal employees get the day off.
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