With Valentine’s Day fast approaching and a winter storm yesterday in the Northeast, I hope this illustration by Trina Schart Hyman becomes manifest at kitchen tables throughout the region. And beyond! This scene is like my own vision of Utopia.
Thanks to Christina Wild Joanis for showing it to me.
Dear paper mail enthusiasts,
If you are looking for ways to protest this presidency, consider sending a postcard to “President Bannon” at the White House, as part of the #PostcardstoBannon campaign. It is becoming increasingly clear who is calling the shots in the Oval Office and he is a truly frightening person. Tell him what you think about the job he is doing as POTUS.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC 20500
Did you go to a Women’s March yesterday? They were happening on all 7 continents. I was in North America- New York City to be specific- with family and friends and the route was so packed with people that we had to go rogue and march on side streets. Which were also full of people. Friends were marching in Washington D.C., Chicago, Oakland, Boston, Park City, Portland, Austin, Copenhagen, and Paris. So wonderful.
The positive and unifying energy of these marches is just the beginning of the resistance to an administration that is tone deaf and in many ways hostile to women’s fundamental human rights. And immigrants’ rights. And civil rights. And LGBT rights. And our climate crisis. And so many other issues. So the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington have proposed 10 actions for the first 100 days.
And guys. The first action involves paper mail! Its a make mail about the issues you care about and send it to your senators action!
Make postcards. Get stamps. Host a mail making party. Let’s do this.
Viva Snail Mail!
Its snowing! My kids love snow and we had a great walk through the park today with plenty of snowballs and track making. Snowy days, which are such a rare treat, always make me think of Ezra Jack Keats‘ 1962 book “The Snowy Day” and of course, it was our bedtime story tonight.
And soon we can make snowy day mail! With postage stamps featuring Keats’ artwork of Peter’s snowy day! When, you ask? USPS is keeping it vague by only telling us they will be released in 2017.
While you wait you can go out and buy Andrea Davis Pinkney’s beautiful book “A Poem for Peter.” My sister gave it us as a Christmas gift and I recommend it for fans of Keats. Its a lovely tribute to a trailblazing artist who broke a cultural barrier by creating the first African American main character in a children’s book. By writing and illustrating the character of Peter, Keats profoundly affected the lives of children, particularly black children who identified with Peter in a deep way, including Pinkney, who slept with the book under her pillow when she was a child.
Sending love to our USPS workforce today, their busiest day of the year. According to the New York Times the Unites States Postal Service expects to process 611 million items of mail today.
Viva la postal workers!
Today I am participating in a snail mail action called #postcard avalanche! If you find Stephen Bannon a troubling Chief White House Strategist for President Elect Donald Trump, then put pen to postcard too! If you are not familiar with Bannon, here is an article in The Washington Post about him. And if you choose to participate, send out those postcards by Monday November 28th and share your paper mail on social media with the hashtags #postcardavalanche and #stopbannon.
I must say it was very strange to go through the familiar ritual of hand addressing a postcard but this time I was writing Trump’s mailing address. And it was not a good strange.
As a student of communication, I have had a lot to think about since the presidential election results of 2016, particularly how commercial and social media contributed to the election of Donald Trump. Of all the myriad ways that I believe Trump to be unqualified to be President, the one that kept me up all night on November 8th is what an awful role model he is for children. As a parent and educator, I am appalled that a thin skinned bully who uses language and actions in vicious ways, the kind of person we try hard to teach our children NOT to be, has won. Apparently I am not alone. A group of parents started a letter writing campaign for children called “Dear President Trump: Letters from Kids about Kindness.” According to a Washington Post article by Amy Wang about the project, parents have been posting their children’s letters on social media (including Trump’s bully pulpit, Twitter) with the hashtag #kidsletterstotrump. To the letter writers and their parents, thanks for trumping hate with paper love.
My dad just showed me the 1936 film, Night Mail. A british documentary about trains that deliver mail? How did I not know about this? Documentaries, trains, british accents, and paper mail are 4 of my favorite things!
The film features the excellent WH Auden poem, Night Mail. You can see the whole 24 minute film at this Youtube link. It is so fascinating!
This week I got to visit the Butterfly Conservatory at the Museum of Natural History with my daughter and her classmates for a field trip. The students are studying insects and this exhibit provided an opportunity for them to see living, fluttering, tropical butterflies up close. And guess who we met? The Small Postman butterfly, that’s who!
Small postman butterflies are so beautiful and can be found in Central and South America. Apparently they taste bad. As caterpillars they feast on passion flowers, which fill them with toxic chemicals so predators are not interested. Kind of like that dog repellent that their human namesakes in the USPS carry?