Shining with Delight: Mail Call Follow-Up

October 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Because joy is a thing best shared, I’m passing along a follow-up on the call for cards for Miss Phoebe’s 100th birthday.  Her birthday was a few days ago and, as of yesterday, she had received 99 cards – and not just received them, but received them with delight and appreciation at being made to feel so special.

Cheryl reports that some of the cards decorate the walls and the rest are tucked into a special new box which is brought out for all visitors to admire.  To quote Cheryl, Miss Phoebe is “shining with delight” over the cards.  Thank you to all my readers who took the time to add to her happy glow.

More opportunities to make people glow with the joy of letters are on the Scribbling Good page. Happy letter-writing!

Request: 100 cards for 100th birthday

October 5, 2016 § 3 Comments

I’m signal-boosting a request from my friend Cheryl:

Miss Phoebe is turning 100 in a couple weeks.  She doesn’t want a party, but she would welcome cards.  If you have a few minutes, perhaps you will send her well-wishes as she celebrates a century of life?

Her address is:

Phoebe Anthony
Golden Rule Nursing Home
20806 Bayside Ave.
Rock Hall, MD 21661

For a little more about Miss Phoebe, visit Cheryl’s blog.

To Do: Write More Fan Mail

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:

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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:

IMG_2094I was deeply disappointed he wasn’t able to come over for dinner.  He’s still one of my heroes.

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.

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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.

Listening to Letters & the Penguin Post Office

January 31, 2015 § 2 Comments

I’ve recently discovered two letter-based podcasts and a PBS program featuring one of the world’s most unique post offices.  I found them all interesting and thought you might, too.

Titanic Letters – In 2012, the BBC recorded a podcast series featuring letters written by some of those involved in the Titanic disaster.  Some are written prior to the ship sinking, others in the chaotic aftermath.  Each is read by a different personality.  They’re very poignant.  [Note: You’ll probably want to start at the bottom of the list so that you’re listening chronologically.]

John Adams Letters from the Front – The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of British WWI solider John Adams are collaborating on the creation of this podcast which shares his experiences in the war as told through the letters he wrote home.  This series began in the fall of 2014 and will continue over the next few years with episodes being released 100 years to the month after the letters were written.  Part of what I love about this project is that these hundred-year-old letters that connected a solider to his family are continuing to bring his family together.

Penguin Post Office – This is a recent episode of the PBS show Nature.  Because it is a nature program, the main focus is on the colony of 3,000 gentoo penguins that take up summer residence next at Antarctica’s Port Lockroy, but the Port Lockroy post office is also featured.  If the brutality of nature makes you squeamish, you may want to skip the Nature episode (spoiler alert: not all the penguins survive) and instead watch the Port Lockroy briefing film to learn a little bit about the world’s southern-most post office, which is a major Antarctic tourist attraction.

Peaches

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.

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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?

A Month of Letters & A Month of Letters

February 1, 2014 § 4 Comments

A few days before the new year, my grandmother made the difficult decision to go on Hospice care.  As a result, January has been a time of mixed sadness and lovely moments and gratitude for family and reminiscing.  I’ve been fortunate to be able to visit with my grandmother nearly every week since the end of December, but one day out of seven hasn’t felt like enough.  So, I’ve been writing letters to her.  Not every day, but more days than not, I’ve mailed off postcards, cards, and letters most of which have recounted memories of visiting her house over the years.  She’s been enjoying receiving them, I’ve been enjoying writing them, and they’ve sparked points of connection that extend beyond the two of us.  A couple weeks ago when I was visiting, a cousin of mine told me that she’d read one of my letters in which I’d described the things in our grandmother’s front hallway that I’d loved when I was growing up.  She said it was like reading something she’d written, because her childhood memories of the points of interest in that hallway are very similar to mine.  Upon hearing this, my grandmother beamed at us and said how nice it was for everyone to be able to share memories and get to know each other better at the same time.  Isn’t that a lovely truth?

January was a beautiful month of letters for me personally.

February, as you may know, is A Month of Letters in a much larger way.

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In past years, while this brainchild of Mary Robinette Kowal has inspired me to sit down to letter writing more consistently, I’ve never quite met the challenge of sending a letter each day the mail runs in February.  This year, I think it’s going to happen.  As well as continuing to write to my grandmother, I plan to write reminiscing letters to other people who are dear to me.  And, in keeping with the rules of the challenge, I’ll catch up–and keep caught up–on my replies, too.

In preparation for A Month of Letters, I’ve spent part of this afternoon sorting out my stack of letters awaiting responses and organizing my writing supplies (they’d fallen into a rather catawampus state).  I unlocked my first two achievements and I’m ready to fill the month with letters.  Anyone else playing along this year?

A Sedate Type-In & Letter Writing Social

September 24, 2013 § 6 Comments

Chestertown’s first Type-In & Letter Writing Social was a rousing event.  The second iteration was a more subdued affair with fewer participants, but no less enthusiasm.  The thing is, people love the nostalgia of being reminded about and the novelty of being introduced to typewriters and letter writing.  As with our first event, the age range of participants spanned about eight decades.

Here is a quick look into the morning:

To encourage those who hadn't written a letter recently, I put together some ideas for getting started and some guidance on postage rates.  (You can download PDFs of these pages from Scribbling Glue's Downloadables page.)

To encourage those who hadn’t written a letter recently, I put together some ideas for getting started and some guidance on postage rates.
(You can download PDFs of these pages from Scribbling Glue’s Downloadables page.)

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Four typewriters ready and waiting to compose.

Typewriter Tips

Lindsay made a tip sheet for each typewriter, explaining its particular quirks of typography and operation.
(“Note: R to L” is a note to herself about which way to wind the ribbon to ensure smooth sailing in case it needed to be replaced mid-event.  Isn’t she clever?)

Typists

At several different points, all four typewriters were clattering away together. The youngest typist in this photo really got into the process and produced a lengthy note to send to a friend.

Mailart sisters

Three sisters and their mom making art and envelopes together.

Stamped & Sealed

Stamped, sealed, and ready to send.

More to come about the Chestertown Book Festival and what I found there…

Success: A Type-In & Letter Writing Social Retrospective

December 9, 2012 § 5 Comments

It finally happened.  The day arrived.  We set up the typewriters and the stationery and supplies for cutting and gluing, then we watched it all unfold.

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It is nothing but the truth to say that the Type-In & Letter Writing Social organized and hosted by Thread Lock Press and Scribbling Glue was a huge success.   The typewriters were in constant use and the mailart table was always full.  Over the course of 3 hours, there were 70+ people who stopped by and walked away with typewritten and handmade creations!

If you couldn’t make it (or you did make it and want to relive the great vibe of the evening), here’s a brief photo overview.

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Checking out the mailart supplies.

The first wave of typists.

The first wave of typists.

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A Royal gets a fresh red ribbon.

Cutting, gluing, writing, and creating.

Cutting, gluing, writing, and creating.

A new set of typists.

A new round of typists.

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Best friends creating together.

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First time with a typewriter.

Another question for Lindsay!

Quick! Where’s the typewriter expert?

 

Every time a typewriter was free, a new typist sat right down.

Every time a typist finished, a new one slid into the seat.

And, yes, the evening even included a visit from Santa.

And, yes, the evening even included a visit from Santa.

There were, I think, eight or nine typewriters that made an appearance during the evening.  They were nostalgic for some, novelty for others, and enjoyed by all.

What I enjoyed most was the scope of the event.  The youngest participant was 2 (and the youngest in attendance, who has not quite developed the fine motor skills to write or type, was 4 months old), the oldest were in their 70s and 80s.  Some people came on purpose, others just happened to wander into Evergrain Bread Company as part of their 1st Friday circuit and stayed to make something.  Out of town friends and family of mine made the trip to Chestertown just so they could be a part of the fun–I’m so very fortunate to have such fantastic people in my life!  People showed up as individuals and couples and families.  A man typed a birthday letter to his mother who was turning 94 the next day.  A girl wrote to a friend from school.  A woman typed letters to two of her oldest friends–the three used to work together as typists.  A little boy created a tremendously be-stamped and colorful card when left to his own devices with a glue stick (I missed a photo op with that one!).  I love thinking about all the letters and cards and poems and thoughts that were created and are now going to be sent and shared; the event is over, but its impact is going to continue as colorful envelopes make their way through the mail and are opened on the other end.  This was definitely a happening that lived up to Scribbling Glue’s mission to celebrate how “handwritten letters, jotted notes, and scrawled miscellany add to the forces of good at work in the world.”

I have an inkling that this was not a one-time event.

Oh! And I also have an inkling from the Letter Writers Alliance:

File under: things that made my day

File under: this made my day 

Hooray for being a part of the creative and fun-loving community of letter writers!

Donovan and Kathy of LWA, thank you for introducing me to the idea of letter writing socials!

Huge thanks are also due to Doug and Kelly at Evergrain who gave an enthusiastic go-ahead when asked about holding this event at the bakery.

And, hey, Lindsay, creative collaboration rocks!  I’m so glad we made this happen.

Put It on Your Calendar: Type-In & Letter Writing Social

September 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

Back in January, I decided I wanted to do less just thinking about doing things and more actually making them happen.  I even made a list of ideas to bring to life in 2012.  I’m am thrilled to announce that #2 on my list, hosting a letter writing social, is going to be checked off before the end of the year!

Lindsay Lusby, the mind and hands behind Thread Lock Press and the blog-keeper at Goose Hill, recently inquired if I might be interested in co-hosting a type-in.  I asked if she might be open to making it a type-in and letter writing social.  A flurry of emails ensued and less than 48 hours later we had a date chosen and a location booked!  The moral of this story: bouncing ideas around can result in  fun, creativity, and new adventures.

The details of where and when:

Not only are we wildly excited about hosting the type-in and letter writing social, but it’s going to be a First Friday event, which means there will be lots of people meandering downtown looking for interesting things to do.  They might not yet know that they are letter writers or typewriter aficionados, but we’re going to give them a chance to discover it.   Added bonus: we’re staging Type-In Type-Out at Evergrain Bread Company, which fully deserves the Best Bread on the Eastern Shore award it recently won and is home to a brand-new shiny espresso machine.

Hooray!  This is going to be so much fun.

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For more information about letter writing socials, visit the Letter Writers Alliance.  Kathy and Donovan, who get the credit for putting this idea into my head, have put together tips and ideas for planning and hosting letter writing socials.

For more information about type-ins, ask Lindsay–she’s the typewriting part of this equation!  Find her at Goose Hill or join Thread Lock Press on Facebook.

Perhaps you will write & say hello

July 12, 2012 § 3 Comments

There was some postal excitement around here this week.  I received a lovely card from a reader who found Scribbling Glue via Missive Maven’s collection of Letter Blogs (in which I am honored to be included) and felt inspired to write to me.  What fun!

Don’t you love the coordination between the envelope and the stamps (not to mention the postal-themed stamps themselves)?

Inside the envelope I found this fun card with teacups, a bird’s nest, and glitter!

Inside the card there was a delightful note, which ended with “Perhaps you will write & say hello.”   And so I shall — hooray!

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