As I sat on my bed exploring my collection of stationary I was reminded of how I used to love sorting through the different papers to pick out just the right one for my next letter. I have an accordion file where all my stationary is organized and I would sort through the different styles from floral to animals to art until just the right one spoke to me, inspiring my pen to start writing.
There’s a couple sets of stationary that are really special to me. I have some writing paper that belonged to my great-grandmother and it’s a cherished connection to the only great-grandparent I ever knew. I have another set that my brother made for me using a needle and a stencil. Following the stencil he created beautiful designs at the tops of the pages by punching holes in the papers with the needle. I don’t remember very many other gifts my brother has given me over the years but that stationary that he painstakingly made for me, I remember!It has unfortunately been years since I last wrote a letter, a real letter, to anyone. I have a cousin that I used to exchange letters with regularly. She was my first pen pal, my first awkward letters with big cursive writing where I first learned the love of sending and receiving the written word. It was exciting to wait for the mail, just knowing there might be a letter in the bag for me, and when there was one, stopping everything to sit and read and often re-read the words until the pages were smudged and folded with too much love.
Now my mailbox is full of junk and flyers and the last remaining bill that continues to arrive in paper format, mostly because there isn’t an option to turn off the paper version. It really sucks actually!
I miss the excitement.
I miss waiting for the mail, hoping for a surprise, the gift of someone else’s story to read, to respond to, to connect with. I kept every letter I ever received from all my pen pals and I know my cousin has many of mine as well. So many years we recorded our lives, our experiences, our emotions, our frustrations, and we connected via a pen, some paper, an envelope and a stamp.
Our pens bled with the stories of our day-to-day lives, often keeping us sane. I know at times writing those letters was my anchor to sanity. It was totally freeing to be able to just bleed ink until my soul was raw.
Unfortunately a few years back my letter writing stopped. It was partly due to the influence of social media and partly my emotional shut-down. My ability to write seemingly evaporated and I started keeping a lot bottled up, scared to face what truths the ink might reveal to me. I sank deeper into depression and my accordion file sat in the corner of my bedroom neglected.
As I sat going through my stationary, relishing the memories of the letters I used to write and receive, an idea popped into my brain. ‘What if I started writing letters again?’ My next immediate thought was, ‘What the heck, let’s try it and see what happens….’
For the next month I am going to write letters to people, to my cousin, to my husband, to my family, to friends and even to strangers I’ve just met through social media. Some letters will be short, some will be long, some will be simple and others will be intense but they will all make their way via “snail-mail” to people who crave the feel of a real letter written just for them and to others that just deserve one, who perhaps until they hold the envelope and ink soaked paper in their hands didn’t even realize they were missing something so precious in their lives. Everyone deserves to receive a hand-written letter at least once in their lives.
That’s what this idea is all about. It’s about re-visiting a time when words were special and it wasn’t about abbreviations or hitting the send button as quickly as possible or even character counts. It was about taking the time to sit down with a pen and paper and connect with someone. I want to re-establish connections, create new connections and through-out all these exchanges big and small explore the written words ability to connect with others through what many now consider the old-fashioned art of letter writing.
Tomorrow will be the first letter, the first time I go through my stash of stationary in what seems like an eternity and pick out that perfect one and sit and write about anything and everything, once again letting my ink bleed on to the page.
If you are interested in receiving a letter, leave me a message with your address through my Facebook page, Soul Nudism