The Pen Pal Project

OK, so I don't write my letters with a quill pen, but I totally would.

OK, so I don’t write my letters with a quill pen, but I totally would.

Earlier this summer, I got a letter in the mail.

It was in a dark, almost foreboding-looking envelope, about the size of a wedding invitation. The handwriting and Pittsburgh address were from my dear friend Tiffany, so I knew there were no such events coming up for me to be invited to.

In the elevator up to my floor, I looked at that strange envelope, turning it over and over in my hands wondering whatever could it be, this odd-looking envelope?

Once inside the kitchen, I carefully tore the envelope open. Inside, was a sheet of stationary that featured a fantastic image of a vampire-like fella, and I smiled because it was so us.

“Email and texting has left stationary virtually useless,” Tiffany wrote. “What a shame! I think we should bring it back. Including a few extras for you to share/spread the love.
Write back! xoxoxo”

There were two sheets of stationary and two stickers, including one of a bat(!) also enclosed, and I was so giddy and excited. If there’s anything that I love, it’s writing, as you well know, but I also love checking and getting the mail, especially parcels that are not bills, thankyouverymuch!

The very next day, I sent my reply to Tiffany, and we’ve exchanged several letters back and forth since then — and even brought another friend, Trish, into the fold.

I love this idea so much, especially as someone who still does a lot of writing by hand thanks to my frequent journaling. While I adore my iPhone and computer, there is just something so special about getting an actual handwritten letter or card. My family always sent cards (and often multiple ones for every holiday TBQH), and we still do. In fact, one of my special talents is finding The Perfect Card that suits the person on the receiving end.
It may take me up to an hour in a card store sometimes, but I assure you, I will find The Perfect Card, oh yes, yes I will.

When I was a kid, pen pals were kind of a thing, especially considering that I grew up in the Time Before Technology. You know, that dark era before every man, woman and child had the latest iPhone with every social-media app known to man?

I remember, being the hair-metal lover that I was, writing to a few people I found in the pen-pal section in the back pages of Metal Edge magazine who loved Poison and its lead singer Bret Michaels almost as much as I did … oh, youth, you crazy kid you. What I wouldn’t give to see some of those old letters today! I’m sure I’m a much better speller and writer these days, but I guarantee that my handwriting now is the same big, bubbly girlish handwriting I started perfecting back then.
Long live the bubble dots above my I’s!

The Pen Pal Project, as we’ve taken to calling it, has been such a wonderful addition to my life. It keeps me and one of my dearest friends, who I do not get to see often enough, in touch in a more special way than I do with some of my other friends, who I mostly converse with via text. And it’s helping me reconnect with another friend, someone I’ve known longer than anyone else who’s not family. Plus, I’m totally counting my letter writing toward my daily writing goal as part of my 365-Day Project, so hellllo, keeping my New Year’s resolution!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have two letters to write.

Long live snail mail!! Long live snail mail!! Long live snail mail!!

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

Photo courtesy marykarr.com

Photo courtesy marykarr.com

“Most great writers suffer and have no idea how good they are.
Most bad writers are very confident.”

Mary Karr

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

famousauthors.org photo

famousauthors.org photo

“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.”
Ayn Rand

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

Photo by Fred Field, The New York Times

Photo by Fred Field, The New York Times

“Writing a story is like crossing a stream,
now I’m on this rock, now I’m on this rock.”

Ann Beattie

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

I love this quote, like, a lot. It just is so true for me, too. Writing, for me, is cathartic and exploratory, and I find that I pepper my personal stories with little bits of my personality, parts I only let a handful of people truly see.

Joss, I loved you for “Avengers” and all your Marvel work, but now I love you even more for this quote.

Photo from bkbn.net

Photo from bkbn.net

“I write to give myself strength.
I write to be the characters that I am not.
I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of. “

Joss Whedon

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

Photo from elizabethgilbert.com

Photo from elizabethgilbert.com

“When I finish writing each day, to give myself a boost,
I stop in the middle of a sentence. I heard Hemingway did that.
When you sit down the next day,
you begin immediately able to produce something,
without that terrible vacuum.
It gives you a sense of momentum.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

huffingtonpost.co.uk photo

huffingtonpost.co.uk photo

“A person is a fool to become a writer.
His only compensation is absolute freedom.
He has no master except his own soul,
and that, I am sure, is why he does it.”

Roald Dahl

NMM

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