Return to Snail Mail: A Personal Handwritten Letter Campaign

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint 

2014 started as my year of gifting good stories. Buying books for friends and family members – mostly my mom and my boys, providing moments of escape from their every day lives. Or sending recommendations of interest to those who keep a running list like I do.

Slowly this gift is morphing into stories of my life via handwritten notes and cards, like a personal history or memoir through correspondence. I’m not quite sure why …

Maybe it’s the thrill of “real” mail or the fact that simple things are important.

More than likely it’s due to seeing old friends and realizing our interactions are social media driven only. We could call or write but why when Facebook feeds run like a life highlights newsreel? Because Facebook is usually the good times without room for the difficult and sad, the intimate moments of life.

It could be the fact that while on vacation my dudes sent postcards to some of their friends, whose parents told me of their excitement upon receiving the quick note. How can we not spread that joy again?

Maybe it’s because we have friends spending a year abroad. Wouldn’t it be sweet for them to get letters from home? To feel connected and not far away despite the distance?

Or it could be thanks to my dear friend, whose daily walk includes checking the mail with her infant. A tradition in the making, I think. Of course they need mail to retrieve from the box.

The reason doesn’t matter much. Only the desire to send some love: signed, sealed, and delivered.

I’ll still give books but they may have a personal story penned in my own hand, tucked between the pages.

Here’s to great stories!

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Handwritten Correspondence: Where Have You Gone?

Pen is courtesy of RECTurnings: http://www.recturnings.etsy.com

We live in a tech savvy culture. We live in a tech dependent world.

I, for one, miss the personal touch of a handwritten note. I miss getting “real” mail like letters, cards, or invitations in the distinctive hand of the sender.

Don’t you wish that when you opened your mailbox that you were buried under an avalanche of personalized handwritten correspondence? Instead we are buried under an avalanche that consists of coupons, bills, advertisements, and solicitations.

Credit card companies have gotten wise to the fact that people want mail that contains even the faintest whisper of personal connection. The most recent “please get our credit card” solicitation I received, looked like a wedding or baby shower invitation; which is the only reason I opened it rather than immediately shredding it.

Right after college I spent a lot of time sending cards and notes to my friends. Back then it was cheaper to put a stamp on an envelope than to call. At least once a week one of my closest friends received a handwritten note from me.

Taking great care in picking the right card or stationery. Writing an outline of the stuff I wanted to share. Why? I don’t know. Selecting the perfect pen based on color, point, type, etc. Print or cursive or a combination.

I loved it. Sitting at my writing desk and spreading everything out. Each letter had to be unique based on the person who would receive it.

My life wasn’t exciting and there wasn’t much to tell but I put a lot of effort into telling the story in the most interesting way. I wrote about work stuff, family things, books and movies. Nothing Earth shattering. I was too busy writing about life to live it.

And if I missed a week, I would get a complimentary phone call stating, “I didn’t get my letter this week. Where is it?”

As a matter of fact I saw one of these friends recently and she said, “I remember when you used to send me letters.”

Keep in mind I didn’t get much handwritten correspondence in return. Sometimes it was okay but sometimes I wanted reciprocity. More than anything though, I was glad that I afforded some of my friends with a moment of joy.

Then life got busy to the point where I had to live it and my letter writing slowed.

Enter the age of “cheap” long distance. I remember getting offers to change services, from 7 cents to 5 cents to 3 cents. It became cheaper to call. One commercial advertised a woman talking about calling her sister to “talk about nothing for hours” because it was so cheap. That’s what my sisters and I did. We’d sit on the phone and watch TV together like we were in the same room.

Following the cheap long distance age came the Hotmail age (dial up and slow connections but quicker than sending a letter by post). Email made correspondence easier and quicker. Then came the cell phone in every hand and texting. Now we live in the age of the SmartPhone with Facetime & Skype as options.

I miss the personal notes, so I started letter writing again. A few years ago in an intentional personal campaign I decided to bring back handwritten correspondence. Trust me when I say the comeback is a slow burn. But I am committed to it.

Imagine my excitement then when PaperMate®   introduced a new pen line called InkJoy™. Part of their mission:  ‘But most of all, we wanted to bring back the joy to writing …” Awesome, right? It’s aligned with one of my personal causes. I still need to decide if the pens bring me as much joy as their mission statement.

Anyway, I’m back at it. Writing letters. Personalizing each note to each person. Buying stationery and note cards that make me smile knowing the person on the receiving end will smile too. Paying the price of stamps and hopefully adding a special life moment for the recipient.

When was the last time someone sent you a personal handwritten note? It’s been too long. When was the last time you sent one? Also, too long.

Join the mission today … I am calling you to arms or rather to hands … sit down and pen a thank you or thinking of you or miss you note. Choose someone you rarely see or talk to. Choose someone you see every day. Put an “I LOVE YOU” in that special someone’s computer bag or handbag or backpack.

I dare you to make someone’s day by contributing to an avalanche of handwritten correspondence. Maybe you’ll be buried under an avalanche too!