Letter Writing These Days

Anyone else using this time to catch up on correspondence, or start some up?

No better time, both because this is an excellent way to spend an afternoon or evening, if you’re spending lots of time at home, and also because this is a truly excellent way to stay in touch. It’s always been a great way to stay in touch, but now, with so many other ways of staying connected removed from us—meeting up in person, bumping into someone on the street, coffee dates, seeing people at work or at school—it’s even better. A tangible way to send someone a message, as well as the time and thought and care and pleasant mailbox surprise that comes with sending a letter through the post.

Do I have any tips for letter writing this time? I mean, yes and no. Of course (of course) I always have suggestions. But really, all you need to do is find someone’s address and then write them a note. I suppose I just have thoughts.

You can include some fun things like photos, drawings, stickers. You can cut a funny picture out of a magazine or newspaper, print out a recipe or article that you’ve recently come across, pressed flowers. I have some exceptionally creative pen pals, but you can get creative or not, and just write a short message to say that you’re thinking of them, hope they’re safe and holding up well. You can always start small with postcards or note cards that don’t require you to fill up an entire page.

Considering helping your kids to send letters to stay in touch with their friends or family, and maybe this is something they will continue on even after all of this is over. This is good practice both in writing and spelling, but also in the formulation of a letter with a beginning, middle and end, thinking about what they’d like to say, in being thoughtful and considerate of its future reader.

If you don’t have any postage stamps, you can order some from Canada Post online. I personally like the illustrated ones the best, but I’m also a fan of these space ones, and these gardenia ones are also nice.

If you’re looking for people to write to, I suggest you simply ask some people you know for their address. I used to be more cloak and dagger about it, wanting to send someone a surprise in the mail, but what with life, I’ve given it up, and now I just say, I’d love to send you a letter in the mail, what is your address? I also suggest keeping your expectations very low, and not to be disappointed if they don’t want to write back, but maybe in these days when people are home more, they might be game for trying something new.

We recently ran a pen pal match up and I’m very sorry if you missed it—for weeks/months afterward we get sad inquiries about it. We run them every once in a while, collecting all the names and addresses we can, and then scrambling them all up to match up. There have been some heart warming success stories (I’ve been writing with my pen pal for years and recently met up with her on a road trip I took out west!) and also some less heart warming non-success stories (my pen pal never wrote me back and I sat by my mailbox for months). If you are interested taking part in our next one, stay tuned to our email newsletter or our blog as we will surely announce it when we aim to run another one.

We recently got some new sets of correspondence cards, which are a lot of fun. I love starting a letter on a card, going onto a piece of stationery, and then folding up the stationery to enclose with the card. It’s also fun if you’re sending a note to someone else in the household. We also still have the InCoWriMo 2020 Bundle up if you’re in need of more supplies than you have on hand.

In a happy accident, we also received these blue Verge de France pads. While there was the weird coincidence of my having recently read Gone Girl, a story wherein a particular character uses some trademark blue stationery which is, if you’ve read the novel, maybe not the best association, I am taking a page from Bob Ross and celebrating this blue paper while I’ve got it.

It’s the same texture as the standard Verge de France papers, which we’ve always carried in cream and ivory, but now in this lovely blue.

In any case, writing a letter is always fun. It’s a good excuse to break out the good stuff you might not ordinarily have reason to use. Wax seals, washi tapes, stickers, the nice, thick papers, the special edition inks. Half of the fun might be gathering all supplies. A bit of an escape, and also a way to send a note to someone who might really need it these days.

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