Friday, October 30, 2009

Fun Mail Art

My daughter and I both participated in Barb Nelis' latest mail art swap...what fun! We made and decorated all sorts of envelopes and then received a big packet of envelopes in the mail! Lots of new envelopes to send my letters out in!

I can't wait for the next one!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Letter-writing Quote

"A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely." ~Pam Brown

I must admit, I found this quote, attributed to "Pam Brown" on quite a few online quote sites, but none tell who Pam Brown is. There are Internet references to an Australian poet named Pam Brown; perhaps it is she who said these words.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox"

Last week, a fellow letter writer, Jeremy, alerted me to an NPR segment I had missed. John Freeman, author of "The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox," was on the Diane Rehm show on Oct. 19, and you can still listen to the interview online! Just click here and then scroll down a little and choose your choice of audio programs under the "Listen to this segment" link on the page.

In the interview, Freeman talks about how he exchanged letters with his grandmother for many years, before she passed away last year.

"It was just the most wonderful way to spend time with her without being with her. The way that she wrote to me, it sort of taught me how to become a person and eventually an adult. Correspondence isn't just about sharing what happened in your day and other information ... especially to a young person, it's a way of teaching them ... how to experience and observe the world. So, I miss those letters quite a bit."
Freeman goes on to discuss how he uses e-mail and how important it is in everyday life. But, he also discusses how often the intended tone of an e-mail is misunderstood and how, in many cases, a letter written in your own handwriting is received as a gift.

"The nice thing about letters is that they move slowly and they have space and they have a kind of texture to them that, almost, novels do...I think there's a speed at which the mind works, which moves with the hand and travels at the speed of letters and that I sort of miss now that people don't send letters quite as much."
It's a great interview, and it sounds like a wonderful book!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And the winner is...

....Melody (aka M&M) from S.mail ~ A Penpal Experiments. She and her friend Meg started the blog not long ago.

For the record, Melody's name was drawn randomly by an online randomizer. I entered all of the names of the people who left messages since the beginning of the contest and then clicked the "next" button, and Melody's name came up as the winner.

Knowing how much she likes to write letters, I'm sure she'll enjoy the Mary Engelbreit note cards!

Thanks everyone for participating!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't forget the giveaway!

I'll draw a name for the Mary Engelbreit note cards (see previous blog entry) at noon (central daylight time) today. I'll announce the winner tomorrow (Tuesday).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Don't forget the giveaway!

Check out my post from two days ago for a chance to win a little packet of Mary Engelbreit note cards. If you haven't already left a comment, leave one now for a chance to win! I'll draw a winner on Monday, Oct. 26.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Love Letter Contest

A fellow blogger and writer has alerted me to a letter contest I think you'll find interesting. The deadline is quickly approaching, though, so if you want to enter, you'll have to hurry!

The contest is related to the movie Bright Star about poet John Keats and his sweetheart, Fanny Brawne. The movie was released last month and was written and directed by Academy Award winner Jane Campion.

Keats, who died at the age of 25, was not only a poet but also a letter writer. Although he lived only a short while, Keats left behind many letters, according to a Web site featuring The Life and Works of John Keats, more than 240 of those letters survive today. Several of them are reproduced at the Web site.

There are two ways to by Twitter and the other with an old-fashioned love letter, but you must choose one or the other. The complete rules are on the Bright Star Web site. Look for the "Love Letter Contest" link on the main page. You'll also want to click on the "Contest Rules" for more details.

The letters will be judged on content, creativity/originality and presentation/artistic expression of idea. The selection of a winner is a three-part process. First, finalists will be chosen. Then, there will be a public vote, and, finally, celebrity judges will determine the winners and alternates.

Get out your pens, put on your romance hats and start writing! Good luck!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I've decided to have a small giveaway. I'll have a drawing for the package of Mary Engelbreit note cards pictured above.

How do you enter? Just leave me a comment, and I'll put the names of all those who comment between now and noon (Texas time) Monday, Oct. 26, into the drawing. Feel free to leave as many comments as you'd like, but I'll put each name in just once.

Happy letter writing!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Letters vs. E-mail

Why do I write letters?

I write letters to friends and family because I'm thinking of them and I want them to know that. I write letters because when I think of something I have to say to someone far away, my mind just automatically says, "Write it down!" I write letters because it's somehow soothing to sit, pen in hand, stationery in lap, and put down my thoughts. I write letters because I like traditions. I write letters because generations of humans before me have written letters. I write letters because people like to receive letters.

I write letters to strangers because I have found them through pen pal services/sites and they, like me, hate an empty mailbox. I write letters to them because they will write me back and tell me about life in their locations, giving me a better knowledge of the world. I write letters to them because I can share something of myself with others.

Why do I write e-mails?

I write e-mails because they are quick. I can send out a question and get back an answer in a matter of minutes. I write e-mails because some people don't answer the letters that I send them. I write e-mails because I am sometimes impatient and don't want to wait the 24 hours or several days or weeks for a letter to be delivered, near or far; I want my news to be heard immediately. I write e-mails because it's cheaper than a long-distance phone call.

Why do you write letters? Why do you write e-mails?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Today is our day! National Day on Writing

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution declaring today, Oct. 20, 2009, as the National Day on Writing.

According to the Web site of the National Council of Teachers of English,
"People in every walk of life, in every kind of work, and at every age write more than ever before for personal, professional, and civic purposes. They write through text messages and IMs, they use video cameras and cell phones, and, yes, even traditional pen and paper. The social nature of writing invites people in every walk of life, in every kind of work, and at every age to make meaning through composing. More and more people in all occupations deem writing as essential and influential in their work."

"In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives, October 20, 2009, will be celebrated as The National Day on Writing."
 Of course, letter writing is one of the many ways that we write. Let's make sure we honor the National Day on Writing by writing a letter today!

To be honest, I missed the news announcement back when the Senate made the declaration. I had no knowledge of this event until I logged online this morning and saw the news. But, there is so much information out there about this! Do an Internet search of "National Day on Writing" and just browse some of the links that come up.  There's a Facebook page, a "Gallery of Writing," contests and more.

Have fun!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stationery Giveaway on Another Blog

We Love Snail Mail is having a stationery giveaway. Hop over to the blog and leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway.

And, if you're looking for a new penpal, join the group at We Love Snail Mail and find a few people to write to!

Happy Letter Writing!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Why the interest in letter writing?

As I read articles that are of interest to me or this blog, I sometimes wonder, "Why am I so interested in letter writing?"

But, I don't really know the answer to that question. Part of it probably has to do with my interest in "old" things. I love to collect vintage or antique things. My kitchen is decorated with vintage kitchen utensils, cookie cutters, red-handled spoons and ladles and such. At Christmas, I decorate with vintage ornaments and Santas, some of which are old and some that just look old. I can't pass up a vintage or antique magazine or book. Somewhere in the back of my mind are thoughts that seem to range from "If I don't love this, who will?" to "Surely there's a use for this."

We often cook from scratch at our house, making our own bread (sure, we use a bread machine, but...still...), canning hot sauce, growing and drying herbs, etc. We even like to sew — by hand and by machine — but we don't always have enough time for that.

I don't just like the writing part of letter writing. I enjoy using a fountain pen, decorating the paper with rubber stamps, putting a wax seal on the back of the envelope, etc.

A fellow letter writer sent me a postcard, on which he wrote that he likes my blog but finds it ironic that I blog about old-fasioned paper and ink mail. I don't think it's so much ironic. Now, if I sent everyone e-mails saying they should write me letters...that would be ironic. I see this blog, and all the other letter writing blogs, as simply using one means of communication to discuss another form of communication.

I do see that e-mail, cell phones, texting, etc. may well be the death of letter writing, but I doubt blogging will affect correspondence much.

I wonder about the future of letter writing. I was a "Star Trek: Next Generation" fan...I can't remember Starship Enterprise inhabitants writing with pen and paper. Even as far back as the first "Star Wars" movie, I suppose the writers had written off hand-written communications.

So, why cling to it? I don't know. Doing away with pen and paper correspondence seems like we're losing a big part of our culture, our history.

It's something to ponder, anyway.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stamp Collecting Month

According to the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum, October is National Stamp Collecting Month. The museum has a variety of activities and events planned for the month, including A Postal Party on the Hill for those who are in the Washington, D.C., area tomorrow, Oct. 16.

If you can't get to the museum, take a look at some of the online exhibits, including the Alphabetilately exhibit, which is on display for the next year at the museum, but is also viewable online. From "Advertising Covers" to "Zeppelin Post," the exhibit shares stamps from A to Z.

The museum Web site features all sorts of fun and interesting information about stamps. For example, the site has a little boxed  called "This Day in Postal History." For Oct. 15, it says,
"October 15, 1920
Inaugural airmail service begins between Seattle and Victoria, Canada. The service is operated by Hubbard Air Transport and was set up to expedite mail from the far east."
 Looks like they have a couple of items for today's date, so it may be a little different when you log on.

To tell you the truth, I hadn't given much thought to stamps in a long time, before I started this letter writing project. Well, I always liked to get holiday stamps for my Christmas cards, but otherwise, I didn't  pay much attention to the stamps. Then, I started finding pen pals who are interested in the stamps, so I started looking for interesting stamps.

I remember when we lived in Winnsboro, Louisiana, when I was a teenager and had several international pen pals...the post office clerk would ask if I wanted some "purty" (pretty) stamps. I always did.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Future of Letter Writing?

My "Reader's Digest" magazine came yesterday, and on page 25 was a list of "8 Thinks Being Killed by the Internet." The list was credited to Matthew Moore of the London Daily Telegraph.

I'm sure you're not surprised to know that "Letter writing" was on the list. I looked up Mr. Moore's article in the Daily Telegraph, and the original is quite a bit longer. "50 things that are being killed by the Internet" (FYI: I had to use Firefox to access the article; my other browsers wouldn't show the article) includes a variety of formerly common activities and items, such as "Listening to an album all the way through" and "Photo albums and slide shows."

Mr. Moore's full comment on letter writing says:
12) Letter writing/pen pals
Email is quicker, cheaper and more convenient; receiving a handwritten letter from a friend has become a rare, even nostalgic, pleasure. As a result, formal valedictions like "Yours faithfully" are being replaced by "Best" and "Thanks".
 The comments left by readers vary, with some being saddened by the loss of letter writing, and others happy to see it go. One commenter wrote: "an email is much less personal then a hand written letter dropped in the corner mailbox." And another posted this comment:
I wish people wrote more letters - I'm 24 and know that the small pile of letters I have received isn't likely to grow by much. And what are historical records going to consist of in the future?
 I wanted to leave a comment myself, but I couldn't get the system to work.

I don't know what the future of letter writing is. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see, while we keep writing letters.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Funny letter scene

We were watching a DVD of "The Lucy Show" from the 1960s. In this episode ("Lucy the Bean Queen"), Mr. Mooney gets mad at Lucy for putting 6 cents worth of postage on letters that only required 5 cents. Mr. Mooney, of course, was a banker, and that 1-cent difference was important to him.

Lucy explained that she was out of 5-cent stamps and was using two 3-cent stamps on each envelope. "It's only a penny," Lucy says, to Mr. Mooney's dismay,

I have to admit to being as loose with my pennies sometimes. When I'm out of the exact postage, I have resorted to putting more than the required amount of stamps on letters, just to get them in the mail. I try not to do that very often, though.

Happy letter writing!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Letter Writing Comments on the Internet

Last week, Candelaria Silva wrote "Letter Writing is not a dead art" at She wrote about writing love letters to her friends and about the many people writing about letter writing. It's a good column! Go take a look.
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