Sunday, January 31, 2010

Letter #31

Letter writing topic for January 31, 2010:

Today, let's get a little silly! Write a letter from your pet. No, not to your pet. That would be ridiculous, right? Pets can't read! Write a letter from your pet.Now, this type of letter works best either to fellow pet lovers who are as nutty about their pets as you are about yours or to children who won't think it quite so weird to get a letter from a dog or a cat or a hamster or a goldfish.

When I was a kid, my aunt Gladys would occassionally write my brother and sister and me a letter from her cat. I'm sure I still have a letter or card from her somewhere. If I remember correctly, the letters were "signed" with a hand-drawn pawprint. On at least one occasion, we wrote back from our cat, Kitty, and he signed his name with a real pawprint, after we put one of his paws on an ink pad. I know we had fun with the project, and I don't think Kitty minded much.

(If you don't have a pet, try writing a letter from any other animal...maybe the bird you see on your way to work/school every day or the squirrel that steals nuts from your tree.)

Most of all, have fun and...write a letter!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Letter #30

Letter writing topic for January 30, 2010:

Write a letter to your son (or to any guy who thinks of you as a mom or dad). Tell him how proud you are of him and his accomplishments and/or his potential. Wish him happiness in his life.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History

"Stamps are miniature documents of human history. They are the means by which a country gives sensible expression to its hopes and needs; its beliefs and ideals. They mirror the past and presage the future. They delineate cultural attainments, industrial works, domestic, civil and social life. In a word, these vignettes give a vivid picture of the world, its occupants and their multifarious endeavors."
Francis Cardinal Spellman, c. 1950
 The Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History is located at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. It's an interesting Web site, and I'm sure it's a fascinating museum.

Letter #29

Letter writing topic for January 29, 2010:

Today write an old-fashioned letter. Now, I know many people (and Web sites) are going to say that any letter, on paper, written with pen and ink, is and "old-fashioned letter." So, what I mean is that, just for fun, today, write letters like your great-grandparents did.

"My Dear Friend,

I hope this correspondence finds you well. We all are enjoying good health this January, and we are doing all we can to remain healthy. I am writing in response to your letter that the postman delivered last Wednesday. I do greatly apologize for the delay in my reply, but it is with great pleasure that I have seated myself to write to you today...."

It's sort of like pretending to speak with a foreign accent or that "Talk Like a Pirate Day." This could be "Write Like it's 1910 Day."

At some point, you might want to explain to your letter's recipient why you're writing like that...or not. You could just let them wonder about your sanity.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Letter #28

Letter writing topic for January 28, 2010:

Today, write a letter to your daughter (or someone who is like a daughter to you). Tell her how much she means to you, tell her how much it means to you to be her mother. Try not to nag or reprimand. Just let it be a supportive letter that she'll cherish.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Postman

Here's an interesting quote about letters:

"Look at that little bundle of letters grasped by the Postman. Who shall guess the histories that are there! – histories more deep, more touching, than many on the shelves of libraries..."
By Douglas Jerrold in "Punch's Complete Letter Writer and Sketches of the English," written in London in  1853

Read more here.

Letter #27

Letter writing topic for January 27, 2010:

Today, where I am, it's a gray, chilly winter day, even though the forecast I checked early this morning said sunny with only a 20 percent chance of rain this evening. Is it a cold winter day where you are? If so, write a sunny letter to someone. Write about a summer-time memory you have or even about how, today, the sun is peeking through the clouds, creating a warm spot on the floor that the cat has found.

Ah, but maybe your weather is hot and sunny today? If you're writing to those of us in the depths of winter, send someone a sunny note. If your letter recipient is likewise in a warmer climate, try writing a nice cooling letter, describing a snowball fight or maybe remembering how the ice crystals land on the window, creating a lacy curtain that sparkles in the winter sun.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Letter #26

Letter writing topic for January 26, 2010:

According to several sources out there on the Internet, inlcuding, today is National Speak Up and Succeed Day. Now, I have no idea who came up with the "day," but it sparks an idea for a letter writing topic. Today, write a letter about something you need to speak up about. It doesn't have to be negative. Maybe you need to "speak up" and tell the world about a friend of yours who does a lot for the community but is rarely recognized...write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper speaking up about his/her contributions. Maybe your regular grocery store recently stopped carrying your favorite soup...write a letter speaking up about why you like that soup and asking the manager to start stocking it again.Think about it; is there something you need to "speak up" about today?

Happy letter writing!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Giveaway at Goodnight Little Spoon

Bianca over at Goodnight Little Spoon is having a great giveaway with lots of delightful postcards, mail art, rubber stamps and more! Just click over there and follow the rules to enter.

Letter #25

Letter writing topic for January 25, 2010:

Today, write a Valentine letter or two or three. I know it's a little early, but if you want to get your Valentines postmarked with special postmarks from places like Valentine, Nebraska, or Romance, Arkansas, you'll need to get them mailed early.

How do you do such a thing? Well, you write your letters, put them into the envelopes, address and stamp the envelopes and then put the envelopes in a big envelope addressed to the Postmaster of the town whose postmark you want. Write a short note indicating that you want the letters re-mailed with their special postmark. If you prefer that they be mailed on a certain day, ask for that, but policies may vary from post office to post office.

There are many towns with Valentine-oriented names. Do a search on the Internet for some ideas. Here are a couple of links to get you started: USPS and Holidash.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Letter #24

Letter writing topic for January 24, 2010:

Today, write a letter to your grandparents. You know they'd love to hear from you. Tell them what you've been up to, what your plans are, etc.

If that's not an option for you, just write a letter to someone else you love.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Letter #23

Letter writing topic for January 23, 2010:

In January 1737, John Hancock was born. He was the first person to sign the U. S. Declaration of Independence in 1776. His signature was bold and beautifully written. In fact, the name "John Hancock" has become synonymous with "signature." For example, someone might say, "Put your 'John Hancock' right here," meaning "sign your name right now."

In honor of John Hancock's January birthday, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association sponsors National Handwriting Day every Jan. 23.

According to the WIMA Web site,
"The lost art of handwriting is one of the few ways we can uniquely express ourselves. There’s something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words. So, WIMA suggests you take advantage of National Handwriting Day on Jan. 23 and use a pen or a pencil to rekindle that creative feeling through a handwritten note, poem, letter or journal entry.
Handwriting allows us to be artists and individuals during a time when we often use computers, faxes and e-mail to communicate. Fonts are the same no matter what computer you use or how you use it. Fonts lack a personal touch. Handwriting can add intimacy to a letter and reveal details about the writer’s personality. Throughout history, handwritten documents have sparked love affairs, started wars, established peace, freed slaves, created movements and declared independence.
"Though computers and e-mail play an important role in our lives, nothing will ever replace the sincerity and individualism expressed through the handwritten word," said David H. Baker, WIMA's Executive Director.
The purpose of National Handwriting Day is to alert the public to the importance of handwriting. According to WIMA, National Handwriting Day is a chance for all of us to re-explore the purity and power of handwriting."
Today, in honor of National Handwriting Day, write a letter in your very best handwriting. And, be sure to wish your letter recipient a Happy Handwriting Day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Letter Writing Blogs

I've come across several new letter writing blogs recently. I think you might enjoy visiting them. Take a look:

Letters, She Wrote  Lauren is blogging about letter writing and the letters she sends and receives.

Stationery Addicted Jennifer is blogging about stationery and letter writing. She's in Italy, but she blogging in English, which is great because I've forgotten most of the Italian I studied in college!

Time After Tea This blog is about much more than letter writing, but Megan does include posts about letters and mail art.

Red Boots An interesting section of this blog is called "Dear 16-Year-Old Me." From what I can tell, different bloggers send to Wendy letters addressed to their 16-year-old selves. It's an interesting project.

What fun reading!

Letter #22

Letter writing topic for January 22, 2010:

Today, write a letter on stationery that you decorate yourself. Pull out all your colorful pens, pencils, crayons, etc. Sketch a cartoon, draw a pretty picture, doodle along the edges. In your letter, tell your recipient why you decorated the paper like you's a self-portrait, this is the only thing you can draw, it's a picture of the house you dream of living in someday....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Better Letters - 1940s Style

I love old books, and I buy all the ones I can afford. I'm not really sure why...most of the books I buy aren't worth a lot of money, I'm sure. Maybe it's that I just can't stand to think of the books being thrown in the trash. 

Earlier this week, I was looking through some old books that I'd bought a while back, probably at a library book sale or maybe at a thrift store. And, I found a copy of "Your Manners Are Showing: The Handbook of Teen-Age Know-How" by Betty Betz with verses by Anne Clark. It was published in 1946, and this copy looks like a library version with a brown cloth cover. There is quite a bit of information online about the book, and it's for sale in several places.

The book has some interesting (and funny in 2010) information about dating, dealing with parents, friends, etc. I don't advise that anyone follow the book's advice on smoking, but the chapter titled "Better Letters" has some information that is still helpful today.

"How would you feel ten years from now if everything you had ever written was dug out of a trunk and read aloud to a roomful of your best friends? Well, that ought to slow you down the next time you feel in the mood to pen a mash note or put a gooey saying on a photograph. ... Those dreamy lines you scrawl after midnight may be exaggerated by a moon, a dreamy record, and a pair of drowsy eyes, so read those letters d'amour again in broad daylight then next morning before you mail them. Try to keep a humorous and amusing tone; if someone is to get a lot of laughts, you want him or her to laugh with your letters and not at them.
In your personal correspondence, be cheerful and keep letters newsy so that they reflect your own personality. A letter which is dull and depressing for you to write is twice as dull for the other person to read. Never quote gossip or rumors which are liable to hurt someone else, and never write anything which might be interpreted as off-color.
Writing a letter to a friend should be regarded as the next-best-thing to paying him or her a visit, so try to give out with your personality on paper! And make those visits often!"

Letter #21

Letter writing topic for January 21, 2010:

Today, write a letter to your mom. I know it's not Mother's Day yet, but really, if you can, you should write a letter to your mama at least once a month. Just let her know that you're OK and thinking about her.

Of course, I know that not everyone can or wants to write to their mom, so, if that's your case, write a letter to any woman in your life and tell her how much you appreciate her.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Letter #20

Letter writing topic for January 20, 2010:

Today is Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin's 80th birthday. On July 20, 1969, he and Neil Armstrong became the first two humans to walk on the moons. You can send a birthday wish to Aldrin on his Web site But, that's just a short electronic message...for today's letter, let's have a little bit of fun...write to someone who is "out of this world." Oh, I don't mean write to a space alien. I mean, write to someone who is really great, super, wonderful, aka "out of this world." Be sure to tell him or her why you're writing to them today.

(Photo of Buzz Aldrin on the moon, courtesy of the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, specifically the
NASA History Office and the NASA JSC Media Services Center.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It must be fate

Here's a fortune cookie fortune that I received recently:

It's funny how once you start thinking about letter writing, letter writing just seems to be everywhere you look.

Letter #19

Letter writing topic for January 19, 2010:

Today, write a letter to your brother (or a brotherly person in your life). Reminisce about the past or maybe dream about the future. Let him know what he means to you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

No mail in the U.S. today

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. It's a federal holiday, so no mail will be delivered.

Letter #18

Letter writing topic for January 18, 2010:

Today, write a fan letter. Pick a favorite celebrity — movie or TV star, musician, dancer, theater actor, singer, writer, artist, etc. It may take a little work on your part to find an address, but many celebrities have Web sites that list their agent's address. In your letter, explain why you're a fan, mention specific projects that you've enjoyed. Just don't be stalkerish about it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Letter #17

Letter writing topic for January 17, 2010:

Today, on this day that is filled with so many distressing news stories, write a letter that is full of good news. Forget for a moment all of your troubles and pains. Look for the beauty and hope in life and write about that to someone who could use a happy letter. It might do you as much good as it does the recipient of your letter.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Letter #16

Letter writing topic for January 16, 2010:

Write a letter to your sister.Even if you talk to her every day. Write and mail a letter to her today.

(If you don't have a sister, write to a sisterly friend.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Love Letters

The newest "Reader's Digest" magazine has a great articles on love letters. It's a question-and-answer article with Bill Shapiro, who edited the book "Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letter You Were Never Meant to See" a couple of years ago.

The article in "Reader's Digest" is good and features lots of pictures and background stories of love letters.

A little research turned up this old posting of Shapiro's on the Huffington Post. It offers some insight into how he got interested in "Other People's Love Letters."

Letter #15

Letter writing topic for January 15, 2010:

Today, write a letter in a wacky color of ink. Dark blue and black inks might be easiest to read in some cases, but you can write in purple, red, green, etc. If you're using a light color of ink, such as a white or yellow gel, try writing on dark colored paper. Don't be afraid to use bold pens, such as felt-tip. Using a different color of ink just adds an element of fun to your letter writing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Letter #14

Letter writing topic for January 14, 2010:

According to the Tea Council of the USA, Inc., January is Hot Tea Month. Today, write a letter and include a tea bag of your favorite tea. It'll be best if you choose one that comes packaged individually. There are so many teas to choose from! It'll be fun to share your favorite.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Letter #13

Letter writing topic for January 13, 2010:

Today, write a letter to a stranger. A who? If he or she is a stranger, how can I write to them, you might ask. There are several pen pal sites available, and many of the letter writing bloggers post their mailing addresses on their blogs. One place to find people to write to is SendSomething . Once you register and post your profile, you can find other letter writers and they can find you. The WeLoveSnailMail site also helps letter writers find pen pals. Another source for pen pals is The Letter Exchange.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Interesting comment

I just wanted to make sure that everyone gets a chance to read the comment Arnie Madsen left on an earlier blog post. It is a wonderful commentary on the impact a letter can have. Read it here; it's the last comment on that post.

Letter #12

Letter writing topic for January 12, 2010:

Write a letter to an old friend today. Not necessarily an elderly friend, but someone you've known for a long time, someone you've lost touch with. There's probably no reason to bother with long drawn-out explanations about why you haven't written is so long. Just say "I've been thinking about you" and catch your friend up on your life. Don't forget to ask about his or her life, too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Letter #11

Letter writing topic for January 11, 2010:

Today, write a letter on some special stationery and tell the recipient why you chose that particular paper to pen your missive on or tell him or her the history of the paper. Even after a year of writing letters, I still have some old stationery that I haven't used up yet, probably because I like to save the old stuff for special occasions. It's time to send that paper out into the world!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Letter #10

Letter writing topic for January 10, 2010:

Today, write a letter to someone you love. It doesn't have to be a love letter, just a letter. You can mail it or hand-deliver it. Don't delay! Write it today!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Universal Letter-Writing Week

According to some sources, the week of Jan. 8-14 is Universal Letter-Writing Week. What a great time to encourage someone to write a letter! How many letters can you write this week? What fun!

Letter #9

Letter writing topic for January 9, 2010:

According to one Web site I visited, today ends the "Someday We'll Laugh About This Week." Of course, that's silly, and I have no idea who designated it that. But, the concept sparked a letter writing write a letter about something funny that has happened to you. Surely you can think of something! Maybe it happened yesterday or maybe 10 years ago, but tell a cute little story to brighten someone's day.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Vintage stamps

I finally got around to ordering some vintage stamps from Errol Murphy, whom I read about on The Missive Maven blog. They arrived yesterday, and I love them!

My only problem...I ordered these to use as postage on letters, but there are so many cool stamps in the package, I want to keep them instead of sticking them on envelopes!

As mentioned on other letter writing blogs, Murph (as he signs his e-mails) sells the stamps at face value plus the cost of postage. My order of $25 worth of stamps needed only 44 cents in postage.

The stamps are all unused and able to be used as postage on letters mailed from the United States. They range in denominations from 3 cents to 33 cents, with many of the stamps being in in the 20- to 33-cent range.

If you'd like some stamps, contact Murph by e-mail at . He'll want to know if you have any special requests, such as wildlife or sports, etc. I was happy to let him pick out a nice variety for me.  Included were several letter-writing themed stamps, as well as a Scouting stamp (I'm a Girl Scout troop leader). Of course, there are many other stamps, featuring animals, comic strips, history, flowers and more.

I can't wait to start using these fun stamps!

Letter #8

Letter writing topic for January 8, 2010:

Yesterday's letter writing suggestion was to write a complaint letter. Today, let's do the opposite...write a compliment letter. A what? you ask. A compliment letter. No one ever thinks about writing those. Every day, you visit businesses and use services with which you are pleased. Maybe the cashier at the grocery store was especially friendly yesterday or the waitress brought you extra rolls without you even having to ask. But, do you ever think to write a letter complimenting the person who made your shopping experience a nice one? Well, do it today! Try to remember the person's name (sometimes it is on the receipt) and write a letter to his or her boss, telling them what a nice time you had in the store, what a good job the employee did, how good the items you bought are, etc. Just like for yesterday's complaint letter, look up the company's owner or CEO and send him or her a copy of the letter. Give some details, tell when you were using their services and what you purchased. Explain exactly what the employee did to give you such a good impression of the business. Go ahead, make someone's day brighter!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Letter # 7

Letter writing topic for January 7, 2010:

Is there something that's been bugging you lately? Is there a store that always has the "express lane" closed during the busiest time of the day? A restaurant you haven't been to lately because the service is always so slow? A company whose helpline is always busy? Today, try writing a complaint letter. Now, I don't mean to turn this project into a negative one, but if you write a good letter of complaint, you will resolve your issues and help the business remedy a problem that they might not even know about. And, you can do it nicely.

Make sure you send your letter to the right person at the right address. If it's a big problem, I usually go straight to the top and address my letter to the owner or CEO; often that information is available online. Secondly, let the letter recipient know who you are (a long-time customer, a first-time customer, etc.), what the problem is and when it happened. Then, be sure to tell him or her what you want (a refund, the problem fixed, an apology, etc.). Additionally, offer some advice. As a customer, you can help the business by telling them what would make their service better (checking to see if customers need more tea or coffee, opening the express lane between 5 and 6 p.m., etc.). Be friendly and polite. In the end, you will feel better that you took a step toward remedying a situation that's been bothering you and you will have helped a business keep more customers and maybe even gain some new ones.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Interesting stationery collection

I was browsing around the Internet and came across the Jane Austen Centre and its online shop.

The stationery section includes a great collection of notecards, wax seals, pens, journals and more. It's a fun place!

Letter # 6

Letter writing topic for January 6, 2010:

Today, write an encouraging letter to a friend who needs a little boost. I've been reading "What Matters Now," a eBook coordinated by Seth Godin. I found it on the Kind Over Matter
blog yesterday; it's downloadable for free. The book features a collection of essays, thoughts, comments, ideas, etc. from a variety of writers, artists, bloggers, etc. I'm not finished with the book, but some of the first pages are very inspiring. From Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder of the Acumen Fund and
author of The Blue Sweater:  " a world where everything is connected, the most important thing we can do is treat our fellows with dignity." And Rajesh Setty, an entrepreneur, author and speaker based in Silicon Valley, says this: "We are all on a search – a search for more meaning in our lives. Through choosing to enrich other people’s lives, you add meaning to both their life and your own."

So, even if you feel like you need a little encouragement yourself, try to put your problems and issues aside for a few minutes and write a letter to a friend with an encouraging word. If you know he or she would like a little advice, offer up your suggestions. If you're not sure about giving unsolicited advice, you might mention that you have some ideas, if they'd like to talk. Let your letter recipient know you're available.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Letter #5

Letter writing topic for January 5, 2010:

Today, write a letter to a person older than you. Write about something relevant to your life. If your letter recipient is much older than you, ask them to compare your topic to their life when they were your age. For example, you might mention that you have a new MP3 player. Give some details, such as how many songs you have on it, etc. Then, ask how he or she listened to music when they were younger. Or, maybe talk about how scarves are popular this season and ask if she wears or used to wear scarves. If you think your recipient doesn't have a chance to get out as much as they used to, you might include a little gift of some stationery, stamps, a pen, maybe a small address book.

If you say you are the oldest person you know, write to a younger person! If you want to, write about a current topic and then connect it to something from your past. For example, you might mention how you have a new MP3 player and how different it is from the old record player you used to have. Don't forget to ask some questions so that your recipient will have something to write back about. If you think that your recipient is not too familiar with pen and paper letter writing, send a little gift of some stationery or postcards and stamps. If you don't mind receiving an e-mail response, be sure to include your e-mail address.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Letter Writing Blog

There's a new letter writing blog out there that you might be interested in: A Year of Letters. Angelia has started a project to write a letter every day in 2010. Visit her blog and offer some support!

Letter #4

Letter writing topic for January 4, 2010:

Is there a holiday gift that you still need to write a thank you letter for? Today, write a thank you letter, if not for a holiday gift, then for something else. Say "thank you for the wedding present you sent a year ago"; say "thank you for not yelling at me when I messed up last week"; say "thank you for being you." You don't have to have a special thank you card, just write a letter that expresses your appreciation for something someone has done for you or given to you. Then, be sure to mail it!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Letter # 3

Letter writing topic for January 3, 2010:

On Jan. 3, 1888, Marvin C. Stone patented the drinking straw. He didn't invent the concept of the straw, but he improved on a basic thing (straws made out of grass) and started the movement toward the straws we know now, including bendy straws, crazy straws, even candy straws and special spoon straws for both drinking the Coke and eating the ice cream in a Coke Float. Straws can be convenient (you won't get a chocolate mustache if you drink your chocolate milk with a straw) and beneficial (studies show that drinking with a straw can reduce tooth decay). Today, in honor of Marvin C. Stone, write a letter to the most innovative person you know, someone who gets things started and opens doors for the rest of the world. Tell he or she what it is you admire about them, but don't forget to include a little bit about yourself and your life, too. Make it a real letter. Ask some questions, so they'll have something to answer.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Letter #2

Letter writing topic for January 2, 2010:

As this is the season for "Auld Lang Syne" of "Old Long Since," write a letter today to an old teacher who influenced you in life. Maybe she was the elementary teacher who taught you to read or the high school teacher who made history come to life. Maybe he was the college professor who encouraged you to go to graduate school. Of course, it doesn't have to be a school teacher...consider writing to a yoga teacher or the life coach who helped you find a new career. Tell this person how he or she influenced your life and include some information about what you're doing now, what you're plans for the future are.

Alternative: Write to anyone who influenced your life, a next door neighbor, a former co-worker, the man who sells newspapers on the corner and greets you with a cheery "Good morning" every day, even though you don't buy a paper. Let them know what they mean to you.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Letter # 1

Letter writing topic for January 1, 2010:

Write a letter to yourself, to be opened on December 31, 2010. What could you tell yourself? Maybe you could set some goals (that you'll want to keep a copy of to refer to throughout the year), maybe mention some hopes and dreams. You might want to be inspiring, encouraging, forgiving of your 2009 self, as well as the person you might be at the end of 2010. Mention some long-term goals so that when you're getting ready to enter 2011, you'll remember the direction you're supposed to be heading. Of course, in a year, you may read what you wrote, laugh and say, "Yeah, that didn't work out, now did it?" On the other hand, you might say, "Wow! That was a great idea I had! What a wonderful year it's been!" Either way, you'll have something to read on Dec. 31. Now, you can you mail it to yourself or not. As far as I know, the technology or power doesn't exist to drop a letter in the mailbox tomorrow and have it delivered to your mailbox on Dec. 31. (Although, there might be a service that would handle it for you, I'm not sure.) But, you can mail it to yourself, and when you get it in a day or two, hide it away in your sock drawer or a jewelry box for safekeeping (oh! how about in a safe deposit box at the bank!) until the end of the year. Or, you can forego the stamp, mailbox and postal service and just put the letter straight into your hiding place.

In almost a year, I'll remind you to go look for that letter and see what you wrote!

365 Letters in 2010

I mentioned in my last blog post that I have a new plan for 365 Letters in 2010. I will continue to blog about letter writing, sharing information about other blogs and Web sites, museums, exhibits, postal news and history, as well as fun stuff, like quotes, songs, etc. that mention letters. And, I'll continue to write letters. But, I'm not going to commit to writing a letter every day. We'll just say I'll write "a lot" of letters in 2010, how's that? But, for a daily activity (that's what the "365" implies, isn't it?), I'll post a daily letter writing topic.

Of course, no one needs to feel the pressure to write a letter every day, but if you're inclined to write a letter on any given day, you can check in here and see what I suggest. On days that the topic doesn't suit you, look to see if I've made an alternative suggestion. Or, just pick another day, maybe there'll be a topic somewhere along the way that will inspire you to put pen to paper.

Now, if you'll notice, I didn't say that I'll come up with 365 unique letter writing ideas. I'm sure somewhere along the way, I'll have duplicates, maybe even more than that. But, I'll try to have some time lapse between duplicated topics.

Since there are bloggers and blog readers all over the world, I'll try to have each letter writing topic post right after midnight Central Standard (or Daylight) Time, because that's my time zone. I guess that makes sense. It may take me a few days to get everything settled, though.

Happy New Year's! Best of luck in 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!
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