I have a collection of things that are waiting to be glued. Not broken items waiting to be fixed, but bits and pieces waiting to be cobbled into something new. More accurately, I have several collections of such things: canceled stamps, old photos, quotations cut from magazines, pages from books that have fallen apart, scraps of colorful paper, fabric remnants, buttons.
Sometime in October, I covered the floor with several of these collections (there is, again, a sewing machine on my desk) and plunked myself down in the middle of all the possibilities with glue stick in hand. Over the course of several days, I made about two dozen cards. I used a couple to write to friends, but most I bundled into sets to be given as gifts.
This weekend I put the sewing machine to good use and made a scarf.
Between the cards and the scarf, I’ve checked off nearly everyone on my Champion of Postal Cheer project list — hooray! What’s my next project? I’m not certain. Janice MacLeod, the artist behind Paris Letters, recently wrote about her November Nurture project and it sparked a couple possibilities that I’m considering. What creative projects–letter-writing or otherwise–are you enjoying these days?
Posted in Postal Project, Postal Cheer | Tagged handmade, card, gift ideas, postal project, stamps | 6 Comments »
This is Sanzi.
I met her last month at the Chestertown Book Festival.
As you can see, she brought her own mailbox with her.
Next to the mailbox, she had a basket full of self-addressed postcards. She was inviting people to take them and write to her as part of an ongoing postal project she’s been running for the past decade. Did you notice the large and wonderfully folded creations at the front of the table in the first picture? They are collapsible books composed of series of postcards she has received. When the postcards arrive, she sorts, scans, arranges, and finally prints the compiled collections. For more information about this project, take a look at the Installations section of Sanzi’s online galleries.
Sanzi said that when she was living in England she had many more people participate in the project than she does now that she’s in the U.S. I asked if I could take a few extra postcards and give them to people who would be interested in dropping her a note (or sketch or painting or poem or piece of mail art…). I have three left and want to share! If you’re interested, leave a comment by Friday, November 1st. If more than three people are interested, I’ll toss the names into a hat. If your name is drawn, I’ll mail you one of the postcards, along with some mystery postal goodies from my own collection. You will then complete the circle by sending Sanzi’s postcard home. Deal? Excellent — let the creative collaboration begin!
Posted in Postal Project | Tagged creative collaboration, postal project, postcard | 14 Comments »
Oh, oh, oh! Have you ever had the good fortune to come across Alice Through the Pillar-Box and What She Found There: A Philatelic Phantasy by Gerald M. King? If you appreciate either Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland or the world of letter-writing, letter-sending, and philatelic pursuits, it’s worth tracking down a copy.
In 1965, Gerald M. King decided that since the G.P.O. was not celebrating the centennial anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland with a commemorative stamp, he would create his own set of fantasy stamp designs. This idea grew until it evolved into a book brimming with clever references to the story and showcasing Mr. King’s clear love of philately. In it Wonderland stamps and envelopes sent through the Wonderland post to and from various characters are paired with relevant quotes from the books and various notes about the fantasy artifacts and their origins. The detail and cleverness are a treat! The scan below is not of superior quality (I had to be gentle with the spine of the book), but it should be enough to pique your interest.
Posted in Book Review | Tagged a different kind of mailart, creativity, envelope art, fictional postal system, stamps | Leave a Comment »
I recently received a letter from a dear friend. She said she’d been meaning to get around to writing for months and noted, “I need some kind of Scribbling Glue post on how to write a little at a time.”
I started this post with a misleading statement.
When I said “recently received,” I actually meant “received and haven’t yet replied to.”
The letter in question arrived 57 days ago.
I know that casts doubt on my credibility to offer advice about being a more efficient letter writer. Let me add to my dubious credentials by saying something that may be seen as letter writing heresy: it’s okay to be a letter writer who does not reply immediately.
A few weeks ago, PostMuse lamented:
I respectfully disagree — I ask you, who wouldn’t want to write to PostMuse after admiring her amazing orphaned postcard database?! Besides, letter writers love to write letters. And that feeling of guilt over a letter that sits and waits for attention? We’ve been there, too, so we don’t mind waiting a bit for replies to arrive. We write to share and to connect. We write because we enjoy it, not because it’s an obligation. Taking the time to contemplate a response or wait for creative inspiration is okay.*
Now–having fessed up to my own sometimes slowness and shown my solidarity with everyone who’s ever agonized over a letter languishing in the “reply to” pile–on to the requested post!
How to Write a Letter a Little at a Time
- Keep your pens, papers, and other necessaries easily accessible. If you know you’re going to have to run around finding supplies before you can start, it might feel like too much work for just a little bit of writing.
Portability is part of why this works for me.
- Make sure you have space to write. My desk currently has a sewing machine sitting on it which renders it useless as a writing surface. While I can (and do) write on the couch, sitting on the floor, and at the dining room table, clutter or other projects-in-progress can derail my intention to write.
Lovely in its own right, but not conducive to letter writing.
- Find and make use of odd minutes here and there. Before you check your email, fold the laundry, read your book, or put on a movie, write a little bit of your letter. Even if you only get down the salutation and your first two sentences, you’ll have accomplished the goal of writing a little bit at a time. Repeat regularly.
- Start, then start again, and again. Eventually, you’ll find the rhythm of a little bit here and a little bit there that works best for you.
And now, I’m off to take my own advice.
* Are there letters that should be answered promptly? Yes, of course. Should you strive to send celebratory notes in advance of special occasions? Absolutely. But it’s also okay to cut yourself some slack when you fail to be a perfect and prompt correspondent. Are there people who will be affronted at a slow response? Sure. As in any type of relationship, not every letter writer will mesh with every other one. If a discrepancy in response time exists and distresses one party, it may be best to address it frankly and make a decision about whether or not to continue corresponding. It’s nothing against either writer, just a gracious acknowledgement that the correspondence isn’t mutually agreeable for both people.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged inspiration, take it with a grain of salt | 12 Comments »