unsent mail

Have you ever written an angry letter that you never sent? I have and its very cathartic. An article by Maria Konnikova in yesterday’s New York Times, The Lost Art of the Angry Unsent Letter, is all about the benefits of writing down your feelings and then stepping back from what you wrote. Maybe cooling off a bit. And then perhaps deciding not to send that sentiment. This arc from anger to articulation to reflection is much less likely to happen in the age of tweets and posts and emails but nevertheless, is useful. The next time you are f@&*ing pissed at someone, write it all down with paper and pen in a letter. Then wait a bit, like a day or two, and read what you wrote. It may help you to figure out what you’d like to express to that person in a healthy way, when you’re not so hot under the collar.

casey mail

Ok I have a crush on Casey Neistat. Its not a “I want him to be my boyfriend” crush, although he is adorable. Its more of a “I desire to have that combination of energy, creativity, and focus” kind of crush. Like a vampire, I have a crush on his chutzpah. And his studio.

While many of Neistat’s internet movies start stronger than they end, he is still the King of my Youtube. AND! In his video, Do the Right Thing, snail mail pulls rank over email. Adamantly. Now I can add champion of snail mail to Neistat’s attractive qualities. I sent him a SASE and sure enough he mailed me a sticker pack. Well, since I follow him on Instagram I know he was not in NYC, so someone in his studio mailed me a sticker pack.

Let me be clear. I love my husband. And if he took off to make movies for days at a time and stayed up all night editing and drove our car in to a pond, we’d be divorced.

viva internet crushes and real love too!

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The Love Letters Project

Are you a fan of Story Corps? I am. And it seems that USPS Stamps is too, as they rolled out something similar called The Love Letters Project, in time for Valentine’s Day. I enjoyed listening to these audio recordings and hearing people’s very personal correspondence stories. I hope the series continues and that the producers of this admirable project cast a wider story net. All 5 stories are about white people and that does not reflect our incredibly diverse citizenry.

viva valentines!

Valentine making season has been so much fun! I co-hosted a valentine making event at my son’s school, hosted Make Mail! workshops for kids, had a craft night with friends, made valentine-y pictures with my art students, made a bunch on my own, and assisted my kids in making valentines for their classmates. Whew!

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Hope its been fun for you too. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, dear readers.

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real love

By now you know that I love valentines. I love opening an envelope and finding hearts glued to paper with a handwritten message. So when I saw this Box Top collection sheet I cringed. Valentines and Box Tops? Those 2 things do NOT go together!

box tops

I think I had that reaction because I associate valentines with love, creativity, and generosity and my associations with Box Tops are crankier. I resent that American families are fundraising for our public schools 10 cents at a time. I resent that we are taking time out of our lives to buy, cut, paste, and then tally little pieces of paper from a Fortune 500 company. It feels, uh, humiliating to be grovelling for a dollar. The sensation reminds me of this ubiquitous poster from 1979 by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.

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Box Tops are better than nothing but real love for our children, real creativity, real generosity will require an epic re-evaluation of our national priorities.

charlotte mail

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 You tell em Charlotte. This letter from a seven year old girl to Lego made my day. The gender politics of Lego are something I think about. My 7 year old son is a dedicated Lego builder and there is 1 female in his fleet of figurines, Nia from Lego’s Ninjago story/product line. Needless to say, my 4 year old daughter gravitates to Nia whenever she sidles up to her brother’s Lego table. So while I feel a bit repelled by my daughter’s full embrace of My Little Pony, I also get it. Its a story/product line in which the central characters are female. Yes they are also ponies but they do things and say things and have opinions and are you know, there. As Charlotte writes, us girls want to play games where girls “go on adventures and have fun ok!?!”

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doorstep mail

Despite assertions by my wise grandmother that I should be underwritten by the USPS, I’m not doing all this for them. My devotion is to communication, to paper, to art, to the hand-made. And that can happen without a stamp. This past week my daughter and I were thinking up creative ways to spend a cold, winter afternoon and decided to leave pictures and clementines on our hallway neighbors’ doorsteps.

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And we got several responses, including this beautiful letter.

photoViva hand delivered messages between neighbors!