I'm trying to be more consistent about posting, and meant to write this yesterday. I'm having a writing workshop at my house next weekend, though, and a houseguest as a bonus, and was busy getting things ready. The time slipped away, and soon it was time for meditation and yoga classes, both of which wear me out!
I keep a notebook of cards and letters that I send. On Tuesday, I counted how many I'd sent in 2010 and it came to over 200. This doesn't include thank you notes I sent for the many kindnesses done to me and my family after my father's death.
I love to send correspondence by US Mail. There's an anticipation between the time I drop the letter in the box (I'm very picky about which mailbox; there's one in particular where things seem to be delivered in a more timely fashion) and the time the recipient finds it in their mailbox.
There are three kinds of cards I usually send. The first are store-bought. They range from funny to solemn. I love going into gift stores - Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and Accipiter, a local store - and picking out funky packs of cards. I love letter-press cards. Here's one from a pack of R Crumb's art that I bought recently:
I also make cards. I use Japanese paper, magazines, punches, books of sayings, and stamps to create cards that are either particular to a situation (like a birthday) or can be used in a more general way. This card was made using one of a pack of leather frames I found in Tuesday Morning and a magazine picture:
And of course, I have my photographs. I put them in Strathmore Photo Frames. I might choose a sunflower if I want to send get well greetings, or a peaceful coastal scene for a sympathy note. This particular photograph is a favorite of my friend Nancy Olson of Quail Ridge Books. Nancy is kind enough to carry my cards also.
I send cards for birthdays, sympathy, encouragement, special occasions like graduations and anniversaries, thank you notes. I use a nice card to send donations. There are some people I write every couple of weeks to let them know I'm thinking about them.
All of this is not to pat myself on the back. Writing these notes makes me feel good. And in going through my father's stuff, I know that the letters are one of the most valuable things we've found. They tell stories of young love between our parents, relate encouraging words to us as teenagers and young adults, demonstrate remembrances of birthdays and holidays. My children's notes and letters to me are plastered on bulletin boards and stuffed in cabinets and plastic containers. My middle daughter makes art cards and these are on my refrigerator and in drawers for safekeeping.
Email has almost replaced snail mail. I'm personally trying to keep the art of letter-writing alive. It seems important, vital, crucial even, to keeping our history something tangible to be passed from generation to generation.