SUCH a good mail day! I received 2 postcards from friends on summer vacation, one postcard of gratitude for a postcard I sent on vacation, my son got a postcard from me from our trip to Boston last week (although oddly, the one I mailed to my daughter at the same time did not arrive), and my friend Andrew sent me a package filled with fresh basil from his garden! Thank you Andrew for a completely new sensory experience. I had never opened basil mail before. And thanks to Nathan, Christina, Luke, and Remy too.
My mom and sister Allison both sent me an article called Pleasing Mr. Postman, about those of us who are loyal to paper mail. One of the people profiled is a young woman who requested to be sent paper mail for her birthday. She put the word out by email and Facebook and got 80 pieces of mail, from 5 continents, in response! This month our friends Kirby and Keshav sent out an email request to people around the world to send their son postcards for his 3rd birthday. And just last week my friend Lisa had the brilliant plan for a bunch of us to all send mail on the same day to our friends Robin and Kemllen, to warm their new mailbox in Madison, Wisconsin.
I think we’re on to something.
We need a phrase for this kind of coordinated paper mail sending. Maibox Mob? Snail Mail Merge? Whatcha got?
Last week I went to see Ray’s a Laugh at Half Gallery on the Lower East Side, a show of art by Ray Johnson and art inspired by Ray Johnson. It was a treat to see Johnson’s collages up close in a tiny gallery space. The show is up until September 7th. Check it out if you’re in the area.
On Saturday I hosted a MAKE MAIL! workshop with kids at our local playground in Brooklyn and it was great! While my friend Dari was teaching that perennial camp craft, lanyard tying to bigger kids, I provided art supplies, paper, envelopes, and postage for children 3 and up. It was fun and free for kids who weren’t on vacation or at camp and they made some beautiful mail. Quite a few cousins and dads and moms and grandmas will be feeling the postal love this week.
Special thanks to my Grandma Pat, whose donated stamps were adeptly applied to colorful envelopes by small hands. Please consider making a donation to VSM too.
I have fallen in love with postcrossing, the postcard crossing project. Like this blog, postcrossing is using the potential of the internet to put more paper mail in my life. Its a mashup of the amazing efficiency of digital technology with the pure joy of getting snail mail from an enthusiastic stranger.
I recently signed up on the site and was given the mailing address of a postcrossing member, a young woman in St. Petersburg, Russia. I sent her a Coney Island postcard, describing this year’s Mermaid Parade. When she received it she registered the card on the site, including a message of gratitude to me for sending her first post card from New York City.
Once my first card was received, my name was given to other members. I have received a postcard from a woman named Molly in South Carolina, written on a 102 degree day, and someone named Moonbase, writing from Sado Island, Japan. Moonbase wrote to me in English, which was both impressive and charming, since the message was full of sentences like “Nigata is the popular sight-seeing area with many beautiful nature.”
Rebecca was the second person I was assigned to write to and in her profile on the website she expressed interest in African American related postage. So I dug through my packet of Grandpa Sidney’s stamps and found 3 ten cent stamps featuring Paul Laurence Dunbar, a poet from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. My message to Rebecca was a Dunbar poem called “Dreams.” She liked it. I liked it. I am hooked.
Since reading the artist Cory Arcangel’s blog, “Sorry I haven’t posted, Inspiring Apologies from the World Wide Web,” I decided not to apologize for taking a week off from posting here at VSM. I was on vacation! A vacation that included shopping for postcards at antique shops and tourist shops on Cape Cod and then mailing those postcards to friends and family. I was living the dream!
I even roped in my friends and family with whom I was vacationing to partake in my ways. They liked it. So did the people who got an unexpected treat in their mailbox, myself included, thanks to my sweet husband. Have you mailed postcards yet this summer?