Last week I wrote about sending a postcard to an imagined recipient with whom I have something in common, the current occupant of my old post office box from college.
How about sending off messages to imagined recipients of the future? To someone who you feel a commonality with, even though she or he does not yet exist? Time Capsules for our Grandchildren is a project by artist Stephanie Diamond, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and a group of elementary school students in Philadelphia. The kids photographed their neighborhoods, gathered ephemera circa 2013, and wrote letters to their grandchildren. All of these items have been placed in air tight containers and will be buried in the Tyler School of Art Green Space on June 6th, 2013 at 4pm. And in 50 years to the day, the time capsules will be opened, and hopefully the children’s messages will be received!
I am so curious about what the kids wrote and what it will be like for people not yet born to receive their messages. Apparently the kids will read from their letters on June 6th and since the event is open to the public, you Philly area readers should go as VSM correspondents (how did ya like that double entendre?) and report back!
There’s an article in today’s New York Times about a bundle of letters sent to a young woman in the 1940′s named Marjorie Sheard and just recently made public. What started out as a request for literary advice from Sheard to J.D. Salinger turned into a flirty correspondence. Its kind of a wholesome, analog version of the Anthony Weiner debacle, although the two men could not have more different personalities. Salinger was fiercely private, making these letters all the more of a treat to read so many years later.
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.
You HAVE to listen to this NPR story about the Juliet Club in Verona, Italy. Yes, the home of that Juliet who loved a young man named Romeo. So wonderful. Photo courtesy of the Juliet Club, aka il Club di Giulietta.
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.
Who wouldn’t want handmade mail from Paris? I think no one. Do double negatives make a positive in French? I digress.
With The Paris Letters Project, Janice MacLeod is providing us all the opportunity to receive some Parisian mail. Here’s how it works. Subscribe to Paris Letters: The Haute Couture of Snail Mail for yourself or as a gift. MacLeod paints a watercolor scene of Paris, writes a letter on it, copies it and then personalizes it for you or your recipient. Then she mails it from Paris with pretty postage. She sometimes even tucks a lil Parisian ephemera in there too.
One of the pleasures of this VSM hobby/passion/practice is that some of the adults in my life send very creative mail to my children. Our mailbox is a fun place where paper surprises appear.
Gifted illustrator and nature observer, Beatrix Potter, began many of her now famous children’s books as fun mail. She wrote and drew picture letters to children of friends and family members. Later she borrowed back these letters and used them as the inspiration for books like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which was published in 1902.
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.
VSM hosted another fantastic Make Mail! event this week. Some very enthusiastic kids at our local playground made pictures and letters, picked out either a bicycle or cartoon postage stamp, stuck them on envelopes, carefully wrote out addresses, and sent them off to friends and family. One kid even wrote to the President! And since we know that Obama is a stellar correspondent, he might just get a reply. If not, we’ll cut him some slack. I mean, there are just a few things on the POTUS’s plate right now.
I love hosting free mail making events for kids. And I am so grateful that supplies have been covered by small donations from people who like what I am doing. Please consider making a donation so that I can continue this fun mission. Thanks and Viva Snail Mail!