My friend Joanna recently put something on her Facebook page about doing a letter writing challenge for 2011. Longtime readers may recall that I had done a similar challenge back in 2009, although that was to write a single letter. (A seriously non-challenging challenge.) Intrigued, I sent her an e-mail asking for the details of her challenge, here’s what she wrote:
“One piece of “real” mail sent out each week. It can be a letter, a postcard, a care package, a thank you note, handmade art, etc. I’m searching for all of the cards and stationary I have collected over the years and gathering them into one place with pens, envelopes (regular & padded), lots of stamps (.28 & .44), a glue stick, unlined index cards (great for making postcards), and a few USPS Small Flat Rate boxes. Oh, and I’m updating my address book.”
I love this. There’s just something about writing an honest pen on paper letter that’s very centering. It forces you to be in the moment. Present. Focused. No multitasking, just writing.
I am going to write 52 letters in 2011. Not necessarily to 52 different people, and I imagine that many of them will actually live in the same city as I do. I invite you to join this challenge. Write to those you’ve lost contact with and write to those you chat with on a daily basis. Write to your spouse, maybe even your own children.
When I was 16 years old I wrote a letter or postcard every day to my best friend Mara. Yes, she lived one block away, but that was irrelevant. I have no memory of what I wrote, or why I started this, but it was a really fun experience. Tragically, Mara died in her early twenties, but I deeply miss her and wish more than anything that I could send or receive letters with her.
I dedicate this challenge to my friend Mara, whose complicated short life ended in 1992. I can’t write any more letters to her, but I can write to those who are still in my life.
Once a week, for all of 2011.
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“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”