National Letter Writing Week

January 9, 2012 § 5 Comments

I just learned that this week is National Letter Writing Week.  I admit, I had been unaware that such a week existed.  Now that I’m in the know, it seems fitting to celebrate.

Join me?


Merry Mail to Me!

December 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Look what I found on my desk at work last week!

Baskets are a sweet way to present a gift, don’t you think?

A closer look at the contents:

write back soon is a letter-writing zine created by Phantom Limb.  The neat brown paper envelope you see here was stuffed with nifty little letter-writing encouragements and ideas.

Address Unknown is a slim volume of fictional correspondence, which the introduction explains was inspired by a handful of real letters discovered by the author, Kressmann Taylor.  I have not yet read it, but it’s in my book queue.

The quotations are lovely and they go several steps up in awesomeness when you know that they were letterpress printed by a talented Lady of Letterpress.

Christmas day added to the letter love, bringing me this fantastic set of notecards courtesy of the combined creativity of my sister and one of my nieces:

The woodland scene is a photograph taken by my sister and the others are all photographs (also taken by my sister) of artwork created by my niece.  The photos are mounted on blank cards, producing greetings-waiting-to-be-sent.

I am particularly smitten with the alien family:

I like it so much I might have to use it to write a letter to myself.  Tell me, wouldn’t you love to find a card like this in your mailbox?

I am looking forward to the new year and hope that you are, too.  Despite the coming USPS postage hike, you can rest assured that I’ll be continuing to scribble.

It’s just what I always wanted!

December 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

As the season of giving whips into a frenzy and people rush about madly looking for stuff to give, I’m here to suggest that there’s a less stressful option: give a letter.

I know, this may sound weird, especially if you’re currently under the influence of the ubiquitous reminders to Buy!Buy!Buy!, but stay with me with for a minute.

No matter what you’re celebrating, the underlying point is to share a connection, right?  Birthdays and anniversaries celebrate personal connections.  Religious holidays celebrate shared beliefs and the connections between believers.  Secular holidays celebrate ideas or themes that draw people together.  You see where I’m going with this?


Celebration = Connection


Letter = Connection

Then, how about:

Celebration = Letter?

Why do you give gifts?  I give them because there are people I adore and I want them to know that they’re important, loved, and worth celebrating.  I write letters and leave notes for people to find for the same reasons.  And I’m fortunate to have family and friends who are on board with doing things that are fun and meaningful, rather than just straight commercial.

Am I advocating replacing all gifts with letters?  Not at all.  But if you sneak a letter in among the baubles and the bling, you’ll have the thrill of giving a truly one-of-a-kind gift.

It can be done in any number of ways.  Here are three ideas to get you started:

  1. Love Letter.  One of my favorite presents from last Christmas came in this envelope:
    It was exactly what I’d said I wanted.  ♥  ♥  ♥And don’t limit yourself by thinking love letters are only for romance.  Parents, siblings, children, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents–you can write a love letter to anyone you love.
  2. Letter of the Month.  Several years ago, my grandmother announced that she absolutely did not want any more stuff for Christmas, so I gave her a card letting her know that I’d be sending her at least one letter each month of the following year.  She was thrilled and I was on the hook to deliver–it worked out to be a huge win-win.
  3. Little Thoughts.  One year for my birthday, a lovely friend of mine sent me a card accompanied by a handful of slips of paper.  On each slip she had written something she enjoyed about me as a friend.  I kept those slips of paper in my desk drawer for years and smiled every time I saw them.The great thing about this idea (in addition to the fact that it will make someone incredibly happy) is that it’s easy to do even if writing isn’t usually your thing.  You don’t have to wax poetic or even use sentences!  Pick a theme–best sister ever, reasons you’re cute, why I love you, remember when, top moments of the year–and jot down a handful of words, sentences, or ideas that capture the essence of what you want that person to know about how you feel.

    When my desk was cleaned out during a move, I packed up the little thoughts I'd received. I can't put my hands on them at the moment, so, in lieu, please enjoy these thoughts I wrote with some friends in mind.

If you’re feeling stressed about finding the perfect gift to convey your feelings, go ahead and skip the whole material object part of the equation.  Go for simplicity and get right to the heart of why you’re giving by scribbling a present or two this year.

Legacy of Letters

December 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Lakshmi Pratury neatly sums up how I feel when she says:

I’m all for email and thinking while typing, but why give up old habits for new?  Why can’t we have letter writing and email exchange in our lives?

Like pretty much everything else in the world, it’s a matter of finding the balance that works for you.

And I love what she shared about the handwritten legacy she received from her father.  There is something about the tangible nature of scraps of paper that doesn’t, for me, have an electronic equivalent.  Have you ever visited a famous place and had the experience of realizing that you are in the same space where history was made?  That always makes me feel like I’m seeing the past from a slightly different and more personal angle.  The physical connection just makes it more real.  With letters, knowing what I hold in my hands was touched by the person who sent it is just as cool as realizing that Frederick Douglas, Shakespeare or the Marquis de Lafayette most likely stood exactly where I am standing.

Thanks, Mom, for sharing this video!

Who’s up for a letter-writing social?

November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Letter Writers Alliance is encouraging people to follow their lead and host letter-writing socials.

In addition to being just pure, plain fun, doesn’t it sound like a fantastic way to encourage those who don’t write letters to give it a try?  Perhaps this is a project for me to undertake in January or February when people are dragging along with the post-holiday-mid-winter blahs.  Hmmm…




November 11, 2011 § 4 Comments

Inspiration to write–no matter if you’re working on a story, poem or letter–is everywhere.  Putting it to good use is a matter of being tuned in, staying open to possibilities that are out of the ordinary, and following up on the initial spark of an idea.  It’s the last bit that is most important.  If you don’t go ahead and scribble it down, the words will never appear or be shared.  Keep your eyes open and your pen handy so you’re ready to transform inspiration into something tangible when it presents itself.

A couple weeks ago, I had a moment of inspiration that was just too perfect to pass up.  My friend Lindsay  posted the cover picture from a literary review that recently published (yay!) two of her poems, Vespers and Studies in Still-Life.  She wrote about the picture:

Looks like a postcard I’d hope to find in my mailbox.

I could have just read her post and moved on, but instead I saw it as an invitation.  I printed out the photo,

Coachella Review cover photo, my essential supplies for making stuff & some Scribbling Glue swag

glued it to a piece of cardstock, and mailed off my homemade postcard with a note of shameless self-promotion inviting her to visit Scribbling Glue.  (In addition to being a poet, she understands the joy of the mail.*)

Look what you can do with scrap cardstock and markers!

Of course, most sparks of inspiration will not present themselves in such an explicitly stated way.  But once you start looking, you’ll find that inspiration to write to people is all over the place.  Some that I have recently encountered:

  • a memory of someone I hadn’t been in touch with for a long time
  • a friend’s FB post about a rough week
  • a magazine article
  • red maple leaves**
  • an amusing encounter with a young child

I didn’t act on all of them, but they all stood out as possible starting points for creating connection by leaving a note or sending a letter.

As you go about your day, make an effort to really notice those moments that make you think of someone.  Then choose one and act on it.  See what happens.  And if you like the results, try it again!


*I would be willing to wager that there is a positive correlation between those who are poets and those who write letters.  What do you think?

** This time of year I have a tendency to enthuse about fall colors.  It may not make for the most compelling conversation or letter-writing, but I just love, love, love the brilliant red, flame orange, and deep gold that the trees are wearing these days.  ♥

Letter Writers Alliance

November 4, 2011 § 9 Comments

Look what I received in the mail!

Inside was my welcome package from the Letter Writers Alliance!

Including the way cool LWA stationary


and my official Letter Writers Alliance membership card.

After deciding to start Scribbling Glue, I did some research, knowing I’d find other websites and blogs devoted to letters and other forms of slow communication.  When I read the LWA’s Mission, I recognized that I was already embracing it:

In this era of instantaneous communication, a handwritten letter is a rare and wondrous item. The Letter Writers Alliance is dedicated to preserving this art form; neither long lines, nor late deliveries, nor increasing postal rates will keep us from our mission.

As a member of the Letter Writers Alliance, you will carry on the glorious cultural tradition of letter writing. You will take advantage of every opportunity to send tangible correspondence. Prepare your pen and paper, moisten your tongue, and get ready to write more letters!

So, I indulged myself and joined.  At $3 for a lifetime membership, it seemed like the best bargain of the week.  (I splurged and treated myself to the stationary, too.)  The moral of the story is this: sometimes fun is the only reason you need for doing something.  :)  Make sure you’re having fun in your own special way this week!

The P. O.

October 24, 2011 § 4 Comments

“The P. O. was a capital little institution, and flourished wonderfully, for nearly as many queer things passed through it as through the real office.  Tragedies and cravats, poetry and pickles, garden seeds and long letters, music and gingerbread, rubbers, invitations, scoldings, and puppies.”

from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, chapter 10, “The P. C. and P. O.” 


In case you’ve never read Little Women, let me provide a bit of context for this quote.  The “P. O.” in question was a martin house repurposed as a small post office and set up in the hedge between the March family’s home and the house of the boy-next-door, Laurie.  With padlocks on the doors and each household in possession of a key, the P. O. became a place where “letters, manuscripts, books, and bundles” were exchanged between the denizens of the two houses.  I was enamored of this idea when I read (and reread) Little Women as a child.

♥I still love it.♥

What’s not to like about a post office designed to deliver missives (not to mention fascinating bits of miscellany) from dear ones?  No bills.  No junk mail.  No ad fliers.  Nothing but mail that makes you smile, laugh, blush, get a bit teary (in a good way), and know you’re loved.  The idea of a personal P. O. delights me in the same way that Little Free Library makes my book-loving heart go pit-a-pat.  They are both intimate institutions that bring people together to connect with each other, with ideas, and with a sense of fun.  Excuse me for a moment while I skip around with great glee over the mere thought that such things exist.  What joy!

If you love the idea of a personal P.O. and just cannot wait until the idea catches on, you can capture the coziness of the experience by hand-delivering a note to someone who lives close by.  Don’t panic.  I promise this is easy as pie and won’t take much of your time.

To illustrate:

When a friend recently ran her first 5K, I slipped by her house on the morning of the race and left this on her porch:

I could have sent her the same message as a text with 100 characters to spare, but it seemed to me that her effort and accomplishment deserved a little extra effort of my own.  The beauty of it is that while it took slightly longer than texting, it was so simple to pull off.  The note was written on a piece of scrap paper and the flowers (snipped from my garden) were arranged in an old mustard jar.  Easy-peasy!  Now it’s your turn to give it a try!   Just scribble a note, drop it off, and make someone’s day a little bit brighter.  Let me know how it goes, okay?

Oh, and if anyone wants to help kick-start the personal P.O. movement or become a benefactor and fund a Little Free Library, my front garden would be an ideal location for the establishment of such institutions.  Hey, who knows what dreams might come true if I put the idea out there, right? :)

Begin at the beginning

October 15, 2011 § 6 Comments

It is because of my sister that I am a letter-writer.  I was in third grade when she went off to college and I missed her like crazy.  I started my first letter to her almost as soon as she pulled out of the driveway.

When I came up with the idea of Scribbling Glue as a 30 Day Challenge project, I hauled out a box of letters from long ago and tried to find the first letter I remember receiving.  No luck.  What I did find from my early days of scribbling were the letters my sister had sent me when she was in college.

Almost every single letter included thanks for recent mail I had sent to her and some variation on the request “Write to me!”


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So, I did.  And that’s how I became a letter writer.

When I shared my idea about starting Scribbling Glue, my friend and fellow 30DCer Elloa messaged me, There is an art to letter writing that is fast being lost in today’s emailcentric world, and you are one of the pioneers reinvigorating it!

This not only made my day, it helped me define my mission: To start a revolution and inspire people to connect with each other through the simple act of scribbling.

I’m very fortunate to have a number of scribbling friends, but there are people out there who have forgotten the thrill of a friendly letter in the mailbox, the delight of a love-filled line or two scrawled on a piece of scrap paper, the excitement of a note folded just so and passed across a classroom.  I’m dedicated to bringing back that thrill, delight and excitement.  And I’m daring you to join me!  That’s right, I want YOU to write letters, too.  Does that feel scary?  Old-fashioned?  Too much like school?  Slow?  Not your thing?  Hang on, hold tight, and stick with me, because we’re going to throw out the rules and make it fun!

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