Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith’s new friendship was deepened through their commitment to correspond by post. What started as an agreement to write a letter for each day of the Catholic observance of Lent, evolved into a correspondence that lasted for years, through many intense chapters in both women’s lives. These exchanges have just been published in a book called Love & Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters.
And they want to encourage you to start a letter writing correspondence with someone you care about, in honor of National Letter Writing Month.
Curious about the book? Well Loyola Press has graciously offered to send a copy to an interested VSM reader. The first person to send this link to a friend who might be up for the challenge will win! How will I know that you did? Well, ok. That’s true. The sending the link part will have to rely on the honor system. The first person to write to me in the comments section, claiming to have sent the link, will win.
Did you hear about Snail Mail My Email a few years back? A gentleman named Ivan Cash proposed that people send email messages for volunteers to convert into paper missives, to be sent around the world. And it worked! Hundreds of people participated and thousands of pieces of mail were sent. The fruits of that fun project have been published in a book. What a perfect gift for uh, Easter? Tax Day? Or maybe just cuz.
Yet another example of the creative potential in using the scope of the internet to foster the handmade.
I have lived in New York City for 20 years and before that, was a regular visitor throughout my childhood. But this city just keeps changing. It feels no obligation to remain the way it is in my memory and that can sometimes feel like a personal insult. Visits to Manhattan from Brooklyn, where I live, are a bit of a memory minefield.
If I were to complete one of Cooper’s memory maps it would definitely include the location on The Upper West Side where I met my husband, many moons ago. And my Grandpa’s neighborhood on The Lower East Side, the subject of a documentary I made about memory and place. And maybe all the Chipotle restaurants and bank branches and pharmacies and luxury condominiums that I enjoy visiting so much. No wait. Scratch that last part. Film Forum and The Museum of Modern Art and Veselka and wandering in Chinatown. All still wonderful.
Despite my crankiness about how it has changed, I will always love Manhattan. The memories run deep. Thank you Becky Cooper for giving shape to this truth.
Its going to be a great year for mail. I can feel it. The 2013 stamps show alot of promise, including these apple postcard stamps.
Speaking of postcards, one of my favorite Christmas gifts was the book, The Postcard Age. It is a phenomenal survey of postcard art from the turn of the last century, when a “postcard craze” swept the globe. The images in the book are beautiful and bizarre. I’ll leave the bizarre to your imagination but here is an example of beauty:
The book is a companion to The Postcard Age exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which is up until April 14, 2013. Go see the real postcards up close!
A new book by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies called “The John Lennon Letters” is filled with the postcards, letters, and notes of an apparently prolific and sometimes cranky correspondent. NPR ran a story this weekend with Davies about the book. Worth a listen and maybe a read?
Here is the book’s foreword:
“Under a cherry tree, there’s no stranger.” a Haiku by Issa and its warmth reminds me of John. John Lennon never minced words in his letters. It quite often came with little wiggly drawings, and you knew he was sending his heart to a friend. In an age when most of us are getting more and more into arm’s length communications, it’s a nice idea to send a piece of his thoughts expressed in his own handwriting to you and the universe.
Since reading one zillion books to my kids, I have become very interested in children’s book illustration. There is so much good stuff out there! And then there are the books that make my eyes bleed.
Here’s my first offering in a new entry category called Illustration. It’s a detail from the cover of Remy Charlip‘s 1969 book, Arm in Arm, which I had as a child. I guess it left a lasting impression on my subconscious because I had been drawing things coming out of envelopes for months before re-discovering this book at my mom’s house in December. Remy Charlip, consider me a fan.
This past weekend we went to the Ezra Jack Keats show at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. I have always been a fan of Keats’ collage illustrations and his unprecedented choice in the 1960′s, an era of racial segregation and oppression, to portray children of color in his stories. I got a bit emotional seeing his original work. My kids loved spotting panels on the wall from some of their favorite books. Before I was scolded by the security guard I took this snap of a panel from Keats’ book, “Letter To Amy,” which will be a Christmas gift for my daughter. Shh. Don’t tell.
There is also some original Keats related correspondence such as a letter from 1963 to a publicity person for Viking Press, the publisher of “The Snowy Day.”
Dear Miss Crittendon,
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a perfectly charming little book. I wish I had some grandchildren to give it to. Yes I do!
The show is up until January 29, 2012 and worth the trip.