Friday, January 1, 2010

I did it!

 I mailed 365 letters! I got a little behind in getting to the mailbox over the holidays, so the last few letters just got dropped in the mail today.

I must say, this was a very strenuous project at times. Oh, sure. Writing letters is fun, but 365 of them was a big task!

Now, I will admit that I included "notecards" and some oversized postcards that I could get an awful lot of writing on. But, I've always considered notecards to be letters. One time, several years ago, my mom asked my grandmother if she had gotten a letter from me. Granny said no she hadn't. Then, my mom saw my notecard letter on the counter. "I thought you said you didn't get a letter from Carla," she said. "Oh, that's not a letter, that's a card." "It's a letter, Mother," my mom assured her.

This was a very rewarding project, and I'm glad I tackled it. Here are some of the things I learned and/or gained during the past 365 days:

* Many new friends all over the world. As soon as I started connecting with other letter writers, we began writing to each other and sharing information about letter writing blogs, Web sites, books, etc. I haven't had so many penpals since I was in high school. And, they are all the nicest people in the world!

* Great blogs and Web sites to visit. I mention most of them in my blog at one point or another. Or, if you're looking for more letter-writing blogs to visit, go to my Profile and check out the blogs that I follow. There are some great links there!

* Knowledge. Oh, my! I've learned so much...about letter writing, fountain pens, stationery, stamps, postal history, and the list just goes on and on. If you haven't already, browse through the archives and see what's there.

* Lightened my load. I used up a lot of "old" stationery that I've had for years. Throughout this project, I took great delight in picking out the paper or card to send to each penpal.

* Gained some stationery. Oh, well, you give some, you get some I guess. Maybe the previous entry should say "Tried to lighten my load." I did get some new stationery in the past year. First of all, I received a nice box of paper, cards and envelopes from Peter Hopkins at Crane & Co. Then, as time went on, I started seeing notecards and paper that I "just had to have." So, I bought some here and there. But, I did use most of the new stationery up, too. Like I said, 365 letters is a lot of mail!

* Reconnected with some old friends. One of my goals when I first started this project was to use "365 Letters" as an excuse to write to people I hadn't seen or heard from in years. I hope no one thought I was a crazy stalker when a letter showed up in their mailbox after 30 or more years. In some cases, I had to figure out married names of old school pals and then try to find out where they live now. In most cases, I didn't even know what state they were living in. Sometimes I felt like a private detective, tracking people down.

* Now you can decide if this one is a good thing or not...after being on the blog for a little while and connecting with a few old friends, I finally signed up on Facebook. I found even more old friends there, some of whom I've written to. It's been fun. I think I'll make a 365 Letters page there this year.

* Found other mail-related projects. Through this project and blog, I discovered Postcrossing, Sendsomething, swaps and more. What fun it's been going to the mailbox and finding a stack of postcards from all over the world!

* Rediscovering typewriters. Somewhere along the way, talking and writing about letter writing leads to discussions about pens and inks and other methods of "writing," including the typewriter. I dug out my old electric typewriter, that still works nicely, and my husband and I found a couple of nice old manual typewriters at garage sales. Such nostalgia!

* Mail Art. Well, actually, I had seen some mail art on Etsy before I started this project, but once I started making connections, I discovered more and more mail art. I even participated in a couple of mail art swaps.

* Found another topic on which to connect with my 9-year-old daughter. Once she saw me mailing and receiving letters, she couldn't help but join in. Of course, most 9-year-olds don't write letters, so she hasn't received many responses to letters she's written to friends, but it's still fun. And, she made her own set of mail art envelopes for the last swap. Additionally, she now thinks of writing letters as a way of communicating. Her math teacher confided in me that once after my daughter had forgotten her homework at home and had delayed the class in getting a homework reward, she wrote a (hand-delivered) letter to the teacher, apologizing for the incident. I was a rather proud mama (for the letter and apology...not for the missing homework assignment).

* Mail! My mailbox is rarely empty anymore. The picture at the top of the blog entry is just a sampling of the mail I've received in the past year. It doesn't get any better than that! 

Wow! Thats's a lot! Who knew all that would happen when I set out to write some letters.

Now, I will tell you that I'm going to continue writing letters in 2010, but I'm not going to promise to write one a day. I'll bet that I write more than I did in 2008 but probably not as many as I did in 2009.

But, I plan to keep this blog going with letter writing news and information. And, I have a new angle on the "365 Letters" concept, which I will share with you in my next blog post, coming soon.

Thank you for your support this year! I have so enjoyed it all!

Happy Letter Writing!


phonelady said...

I must say I certainly did enjoy getting to know a little about you and will continue to write and hopefully we will know more in our continued correspondance .

chandlerguera said...

You are quite an inspiration to the "snail mail" community! Congratulations on meeting your goal of 365 letters. I look forward to your updates through this year.

Jackie Flaherty said...

Loved reading about your success as well as your new venture. You are inspirational, and you have a lot of interesting content. Thanks for sharing!


John Johnston said...

Congratulations on attaining a lofty and worthwhile goal! You are to be commended for your perseverance and applauded for the excellent way in which you have shared your undertaking. I'm looking forward to your posts in 2010.

Es said...

I think that this is a fantastic achievement! Just for you to find time in life and spend it sharing it with someone else through writing them a letter I think is wonderful inspiration. I can't imagine what it must feel like to you for having made all those new connections worldwide, and how proud you must be of your daughter for her active interest!

I've only just found this blog, and am attempting to get back into letter writing after 15 years, and it's really inspired me. I'm looking forward to going through your journal and finding tips and tricks about stationery and things to write, and, of course, seeing your adventures in writing over 2009 and this year so far :)



Karla said...

Oh my goodness, when am I going to have time to read all your posts and the posts of all those other blogs you've listed???...I LOVE LETTERS! I'm in heaven! I might have to try the 365 letters project. Only I'd have to subtract the 3 months of the year that have already passed. :) Great blog! I look forward to following it.

clara said...

great goal to have accomplished. I'm enjoying your blog. I've just started mail art-ing and sent off two pieces of mail art today to people I don't know in hopes of getting mail back. Plus, I sent 3 pieces of mail to relatives who probably won't write me back...but I'm sure they'll enjoy the letters I sent.

Tpot said...

I love the blog and what an achievement. My daughter has undertaken a 365 photo a day and is doing well. I am going to grap a cup of tea (proper tea here in the uk!) and sit and read through your blog. I found it via percolating today blog. So glad I did. You are an inspiration and I may even have a go myself. You made it so interesting with snippets of other stuff but related - really clever. Thank you! Is there anyway I can send you the 365 photo blog link? I am biased but wonderful pictures of the UK seasons and countryside. Thanks again for a wonderful idea and blog to go with it. Well done.

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