If you subscribe to Garrison Keiller’s Writer’s Almanac, a poem gets sent to your email address every day.
Here’s one that Biskit forwarded to me:
I see a postman everywhere
Vanishing in thin blue air
A mammoth letter in his hand,
Postmarked from a foreign land.
The postman’s uniform is blue.
The letter is of course from you
And I’d be able to read, I hope,
My own name on the envelope
But he has trouble with this letter
Which constantly grows bigger & bigger
And over and over with a stare,
He vanishes in blue, blue air.
There is a piece by Geoffrey Gray in today’s New York Times Magazine about a man and woman who fell in love by way of letter writing. Damien Echols was on death-row in Arkansas. Lorri Davis was a landscape architect living in Brooklyn. After seeing him in the 1996 documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Davis wrote to Echols, setting off a correspondence that changed both their lives profoundly. Read their epic love story here.
An excellent commentary on NPR’s Morning Edition by Gwen Thompkins called Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Joy of Letters. I love her descriptions of observing Parisian customers taking a LONG time to pick out stamps at a French post office and losing her letter filled desk in Hurricane Katrina.
I love getting text messages about paper mail.
From my neighbor Pam Morris, on behalf of her daughter:
“Lily loved her postcard! We’ll be sending you one soon”
From my good friend Becca:
“Nicest card i’ve ever received. U nailed it. I cried when I read it. Feels good to be understood. Thank u friend. Love and miss”
This one from my husband:
“Google Letters of Note”
So I did. Its a fascinating website of correspondence by people such as JFK to his dad, Steve Jobs to a fan, Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash, Mr. Rogers to the father of a viewer, and Marilyn Monroe to her psychiatrist. Here is the NPR interview with Shaun Usher, the editor of Letters of Note, Correspondence deserving of a Wider Audience that my husband heard.
And this from my friend Hope on Sunday:
“There’s a story on Morning Edition now, interview with one of the authors of a book based on the stories of people who have written to the President.”
President Obama receives 20,000 letters and emails a day. Staff members read them all and choose 10 letters to be personally read and responded to by Obama, in his gorgeous handwriting. Eli Saslow has written a book about this correspondence called Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President. Here’s the NPR interview with Saslow that prompted Hope’s text.
Fantastic rally at Foley Square in Manhattan on October 5, 2011.
According to the New York Times, the USPS is going to change their policy of only featuring dead people on postage stamps- now living people can appear on postage stamps too. The NYT article linked to the USPS Stamps Facebook page. I didn’t know they had one so I went and its great! As of now 5,844 people “like” the page and out of those people a whole bunch want Lady Gaga to appear on a stamp. A Lady Gaga stamp might just save the USPS. All her little monsters would be buying up sheets and sheets of them! I also read suggestions for Dolly Parton, Madonna, and Maya Angelou and I could not agree more. Someone suggested Gilda Radner, who unfortunately is not alive. But Kristen Wiig is. I just watched “Bridesmaids” again and I would LOVE to stick a Kristen Wiig stamp on my mail, if you know what I mean.
This pop culture influx might be shocking to traditional philatelic folks but as long as the artwork on these stamps is good, I think this change could breathe some fresh energy into the form. What do you think and what are your suggestions for future stamp subjects?
Viva Snail Mail!