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!
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:
Golden Rule Nursing Home
20806 Bayside Ave.
Rock Hall, MD 21661
For a little more about Miss Phoebe, visit Cheryl’s blog.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?