September 2, 2015 § 8 Comments
When I was quite small, I wrote a letter to Oscar the Grouch.* I made the editorial decision to sign my first piece of fan mail as “Grungetta” (perhaps believing that Oscar would pay more attention to a letter from someone he knew, but more likely just because Playing Pretend is the best game ever). I ripped up construction paper to include in the envelope, because it seemed only proper to send him some trash.
And I got a reply:
I was gleeful that the response addressed me as Grungetta — they believed I was the real deal! (Clearly I didn’t notice the return address…) For a very long time after receiving this letter, whenever I saw Oscar’s trashcan on Sesame Street, I wondered if the pieces of paper I’d ripped up were still on his floor.
I also wrote to Mr. Rogers whose typewriter was not full of trash:
Jumping ahead through years that involved only very occasional fan letter writing (mostly to authors), we arrive in the present day where letter writing is one of my nerdoms and I believe in letting people know they’re appreciated. This combination is clearly a recipe for writing fan mail. Accordingly, I recently decided to write to the creative minds behind Pretend Wizards. It became a fairly elaborate production. Scissors and glue were involved and there were multiple pieces by the time I finished.
I had a few moments of wondering if I was going overboard. But I quickly squashed that thought. I’ve gotten many, many hours of enjoyment thanks to what this group of people has created and I really wanted to let them know in style. So, I did. They subsequently talked about receiving and enjoying my fan mail on the “Mail Bag” section of one of their episodes, which was awesome.
Why am I telling you about these letters I’ve written? To encourage you to write fan mail to people who do the creative things you love and to the people who inspire you in some way. It’s win-win. You get to be unabashedly enthusiastic and the recipient gets tangible appreciation. Try it — write someone a letter of wholehearted admiration. As appropriate, include ripped up paper, a dinner invitation, or a selection of teas. If so inspired, report back. I predict that both you and your recipient will feel better about humanity in general as a result.
*The idea to write to Oscar and Mr. Rogers originated from my mom who has a genius for proposing simple activities that kids adore. If you have kids, teach kids, hang out with kids, etc., a letter writing project is an excellent undertaking.
July 15, 2014 § 10 Comments
On Saturday I bought peaches at the farmers’ market. They were juicy ripe and everything fresh local peaches should be.
When I approached White Marsh Orchard‘s table, I was surprised to be greeted by name. This isn’t an unusual occurrence in my small town, but I didn’t remember the orchard owners knowing my name last summer.
Then she said, “It was so lovely to get your note,” and he chimed in, “Really thoughtful of you.”
And I suddenly remembered that last fall, when reflecting with some sadness that peaches wouldn’t be in season again for many months, I had been inspired to look up the orchard’s address so I could write and say how much I enjoyed their peaches all summer. I’d signed my name, of course, and made mention of my red market basket so they’d have a clue who I was.
They clearly figured it out.
We talked a couple minutes about our mutual appreciation of both peaches and real letters. It got me thinking (not for the first time) about making the choice to express appreciation and what a positive impact it can have. As a result, I’m challenging myself to write more notes of thanks for the little things that make life better.
What are you enjoying these days? Do you ever send unexpected thank you notes?
July 6, 2012 § 6 Comments
The quarterly municipal water and sewer bill arrived this week. While not my favorite kind of mail to receive, I do love working utilities, so I sat right down and paid it.
Since the bill arrives in postcard form, I had to supply an envelope for mailing the check. When I went to raid my stash of random plain envelopes (thrifted for pennies in anticipation of just this sort of postal moment), the first envelopes I saw in my stationary drawer were the ones I recently made from an old calendar.
And I thought, Why not? Maybe it will make the Utilities Commission’s mail opener smile.
It did cross my mind that this was an unusual idea and might be considered odd, but when I saw that I had an envelope made from an aerial shot of my town, I took it as a sign that it was a good unusual idea.
I went all out and tucked a note in my fancy bill-paying envelope:
Saying “thank you” makes the world a better place. Truly.