A good friend’s mom recently died, after a long struggle with cancer. At her funeral she was eulogized by her children and oldest grandchild, with such love. One son recalled a Passover tradition she had. When packing up all her special plates from her family’s Seders, she would write herself a letter and tuck it on top of the Seder plate, along with letters from prior years, to be read again upon opening the box for next year’s Passover events.
This ritual moved me, particularly for a woman who was described as such a giver, so generous and open hearted. Within her Seder tradition, which was inherently a group activity, she imbedded some time with herself to reflect on her own life, in her own words.
I have never hosted a Seder but I do unpack and repack our Christmas decorations each year. Perhaps I will include a letter to myself as a way of recording the highlights of my family’s holiday season, to slow down and remember the richness of our lives because honestly, Christmas can sometimes feel like too much, too fast, and then its over. What a smart way to start off the following year’s season, with a hand written reminder to myself of what I love.
Last week I had the honor of sitting in the audience while my daughter and my niece performed in an experimental production of “Moby Dick.” It was the culminating event in their week of camp at White Bird Productions and wow, that staff did so much with the campers in such a short amount of time!
So it was quite serendipitous that I received a Postmark’d package of whale related paper mail supplies just in time to write whale cards for my girls. The package included 4 lovely greeting cards and a postcard from a variety of makers, postage stamps, some tips on writing whale themed mail, a pen and pencil, and even some blue washi tape to seal up the envelopes! The presentation was lovely and I would recommend this subscription service as a gift to a loved one. It might inspire a child to embrace the art of paper correspondence or for an adult to remember its pleasures. I can’t wait to see what next month’s delivery brings!
Viva Snail (whale) Mail!
My daughter: What can travel around the world but always stays in its corner?
My daughter: A postage stamp.
My heart swells. Viva Snail Mail!
Guys, I fell off the wagon. For months. But last night I got out my postcards and stamps and my favorite pen and wrote a bunch of postcards for some of the moms in my life and it felt so good! I was like, oh right. I like this.
I have been pulled in so many directions this year that snail mail felt like an extension of “kin keeping,” those obligatory tasks that are often taken on by women in order to maintain relationships. I just did not have the bandwidth to reach out with mail. And my art practice has been more focused on drawing lately so I wasn’t even thinking about snail mail as art so much. But.
I’m going to try to climb back on the snail mail wagon. Also, how gorgeous is that The Quilts of Gee’s Bend postcard? Wagons, paper mail, and quilts? What is this, 1917?
While you’re taking a break from writing postcards to Paul Ryan, take a look at these paper mail inspired tattoos. Viva Snail Mail for like, your whole life.
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!