I just wrote a big, long, boo-hoo, woe-is-me post the other day about how I want a crew. Well, I'm a big, fat baby.

What the hell is wrong with me? Maybe I like to complain, I dunno. The good news is that I've pulled my head (somewhat) out of my ass and I see the wonderful, friend-filled world that I live in.

A few weeks ago I sent out a little beacon of inquiry that simply said, "Would anyone like to be my penpal?" and I was thrilled and delighted to get several responses.

The art of writing by hand is nearly lost. A friend of mine just wrote me (by hand) that she doesn't even know what her new beau's handwriting looks like and they've been dating for several weeks. I'm not sure I know Sheree's handwriting and she's been my best friend for 8 years here in Texas.

I remember being a kid and forced to write thank you notes after Christmas. I hated it. My grandma would call and passive aggressively ask if we liked our gifts and if she'd gotten a note from us she'd have known the answer already. I thought she was a jerk for saying so. As a grown up, I'm humiliated that I was such a jerk at 11. (Although, in my young defense, my parents should have taken a more active role in my thank-you-note-writing and made it a fun, whole-family kind of experience rather than a chore.) Now, I think it's just lovely when a friend shoots me a quickly scrawled thank-you note (thank YOU, Diane!) and I'm very deliberate in sending my own whenever I can. At the very least, I email.

But I'm digressing. Back to the penpal thing. I'm part of the generation that has a foot in "the old days" and a foot in the new. We didn't have any other way, besides the telephone, to correspond with friends and family other than writing a letter when we were growing up. I have dozens and dozens of old letters between me and friends and boyfriends. When I first moved here in 1995 I raced down to the mailbox every day to see if a friend had written me anything. Email came a few months later, but nothing feels like a letter from a friend waiting for you in your box. Nothing.

And I'm determined to bring that back. I've completely forgotten how to correspond, actually have a conversation with someone, via pen and paper. I won't have record of what I sent previously. I won't be able to spell check. I won't really be able to erase what I've written whenever I want,either, lest I waste my stationary.

Writing a real letter involves thought, discipline, and focus. You have to think about the letter you've received and how you want to respond, but you also have to think forward in order to keep your fellow penpal engaged and connected to the process. Or, you could abandon decorum and instead send non-sequiters, which are a theme all on their own and stand alone. I tend to favor the latter since it requires less skill on my part.

Another thrilling aspect of all of this is the stationary. I have such plans!!! I have tons of old crap I'm gonna get through and then it's Creative City!! Woot!

I am so excited about this new endeavor, I can't even tell you!! So far I have six penpals in California, Utah, Iowa, Georgia, and Orgeon (although, the Orgeonian doesn't know it, yet, but I'm just gonna keep sending him random shit until he writes me back).

Would anyone else like to be my penpal?? Do you need help finding a penpal? Lemme know and I'll hook you up.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! P-p-p-pleeeze say I'll get a letter on the Shit stationary!!

    I recently went through my "trunk-O-junk" (that is essentially a box full of my early adulthood) and found a few bundles of letters, old journals, etc. Once I wiped the tears of laughter away, it made me really sad that I don't have similar things in my own and others' hands to mark this time in my life.

    Over spring break, I'm taking som time off from the mania that is FB (okay, my FB habits) to slow down and write by hand. Also, I like the mystery associated with letter writing. When my kids (or whoever) find my trunk and try to figure out my life, there will be only half the story. Their picture of me will be through others' eyes, which is pretty neat when I think about it. But in this digital age, half the story is better than none at all. Would anyone really excavate a loved one's FB profile or blogs or email accounts? There's something a little sad about a password-protected past...(I feel some poetry coming on.)