My love of snail mail has been influenced by many people but the reverence for postcards comes most directly from my stepfather, Biskit, who turns 56 today, and is the second from the right in the photo above.
Viva Snail Mail: Biskit, how and when did your love of postcards start?
Biskit: My friend Doug Zwick, before going to college went out to work on a cattle feedlot owned by his uncle in Oklahoma. He would send us back great classic postcards. The first I remember was “Saddling up Big Jack”, a cowboy riding a jackrabbit. And then a “jackalope” card. We then got into the most mundane we could find as well, Pennsylvania Highway Interchanges and the like. Our group of friends, the Pastafarians, used postcards like a sort of precursor to email to stay in touch, with postcards being short poems as opposed to the prose of letters. I lived in rundown houses at college and would just pin the cards to the walls of my house. Anyone that came in my house would admire them and would of course send me postcards from their travels, whether far away or right nearby. We also got into making cards from found objects, etc.
VSM: Did you and your friends see your postcard exchanges as a nod to any art movements or were you making it up as you went along?
Biskit: Short answer is no. We were not self-consciously giving a nod to anything, we just thought the cards were funny/interesting. We were both mocking the cards and genuinely appreciating them and then artists and great-grandmothers joined into sending us postcards.
We were definitely influenced right then by the Beat Generation poets we were reading and that not only influenced our writing on the cards, but in a way the visuals on the cards are poetry too.
Those early exchanges in the 1970’s continued for many years, pretty much until email came along. That’s when Biskit’s postcard commitment dropped off a bit. He still had a huge postcard collection however, and so, due to my inquiries about the origins of his postcard love, Biskit was inspired to re-ignite the flow of postcards amongst his vast network of friends, the Pastafarians. He sent out an email, asking whoever wanted to take part in the Summer of Postcard Love to send him their mailing address. He then sent this mailing list to everyone interested. About 40 people participated and as a result, my husband and son and I received 67 postcards this past summer.
This idea could be easily adapted by you and your friends.
Here are some highlights from the Summer of Postcard Love:
Chocolate chip production at Hershey Foods Corporation from Abe.
Homemade card for my son from his aunt Allison.